Herb Harvest and Preservation by Jeff Carpenter, Co-Owner & Operator of Zack Woods Herb Farm, Guest Blogger, September 11, 2016

Milky Oats Drying

Growing herbs is easy! After all, these plants are wild by nature and have adapted to tolerate pests, diseases and even the neglect  of their two-legged caretakers who cultivate them for our health and pleasure.  But as we walk through our wild and cultivated gardens, the thought of how to capture and store as much of our plants healing and nourishing potential as possible can seem overwhelming.  Fortunately it’s not as hard as one might imagine but before we get into herb preservation, let’s briefly discuss when and how to harvest.

Herbs, whether culinary, medicinal (or both as many are) should be harvested at the peak of potency for maximum benefit.  For most leaf crops such as those in the mint family (i.e lemon balm, nettles, basils, etc.) harvest at the early stages of flowering during dry weather using pruning shears, field knives or by stripping leaves off with bare hands. Blossoms such as calendula, chamomile and arnica should be harvested during dry sunny weather when flowers are fully open using your hands or a device such as a chamomile rake. Roots are best harvested when the plants are dormant (late fall through early spring) and the energy of the plant has gone from above ground growth back to its roots. Spading forks are best for digging roots as they don’t tend to cut lateral roots off as shovels can do.

Chamomile and EchinaceaTo clean freshly harvested herbs, shake or lightly brush them to remove debris clinging to leaves. Washing leaves and blossom is […]

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Herbal Cocktail Party By Rachael Keener& Lexie Donovan, July 28, 2016

Herbal Cocktails

Here at Urban Moonshine, we’re big believers in work-life balance. We most certainly work hard and we most certainly know how to have a good time. Whether it’s skipping the first hour of work for an occasional guided plant walk with Guido, stopping as a team to share lunch once a week, or taking a run/walk break as a midday refresh, the culture here promotes joy and balance in relationship to work. Last week Jovial, our founder and owner, invited us over for cocktails. So, we clocked out early and headed to her little city slice of heaven overlooking the lake and teaming with herbs and flowers. Of course pretty much everything we do together takes on an herbal spin, and mixed drinks are certainly no exception. Here’s what Lexie, our financial and administrative manager, whipped up for us. Herbal, refreshing and perfect for a summer evening.

 

Urban Moonshine staff drinking herbal cocktails

Cucumber & Lemon Verbena Gimlet: (serves 1)

Ingredients

-1.5 oz Vodka (could substitute Gin)

-1.5 oz Fresh Cucumber Juice

-1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

-.5oz Simple Syrup

-1 oz Fevertree Tonic Water or Soda Water

-1 Large Verbena Leaf

-A few sprigs Lemonbalm (optional) 

 -Ice

Instructions

-(Optional: If you want an extra herbal flavor, muddle lemonbalm with a dash of simple syrup in the bottom of martini shaker as the first step)

-Add ice to martini shaker. Pour vodka, cucumber juice, lime juice, and simple syrup over ice and stir until chilled.

Strain into martini glasses. Top […]

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DIY Herbal Salt Glow for Vibrant Summer Skin by Rachael Keener, July 5, 2016

I have to say, I love being in my body in the summertime. My senses are constantly indulged by the burgeoning world around me, and the simple fact that more of my skin is exposed to the elements makes summer an intimate time of being in the world. My hands are in the dirt, my feet are in the sand, and my nose in every blooming flower that crosses my path. The earth is always near, and my body feels like another one of its fruits. With the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, life flows and my heart is warm and open. The days just seems a little easier simply from being surrounded by earthly pleasures. Having soft skin is one of those earthy pleasures that I just adore. This is true anytime, but especially in the sun-kissed summer months. Using an exfoliating salt scrub is hands down the best way I know to get silky soft summer skin.

 

Chamomile and lavender

When it comes to making salt scrubs, there are many different approaches. I like including lots of herbs, of course, for their therapeutic and aromatic properties and also because they help with exfoliation. This recipe includes lavender and chamomile flowers–both of which are anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin as well as cooling and relaxing to the nervous system. The bergamot essential oil is an added aromatic boon, providing a soft citrus note that is at once uplifting and relaxing. Emollient coconut oil and sweet almond oil in the recipe help seal in moisture.

Exfoliation softens and smooths your skin by removing dull, […]

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