With the first breath of fall blowing through my garden, I know that my window for herb harvesting is closing.
I had a surprisingly pleasant season with my herbs this year. My two sage plants I started from seed a year ago finally took off when I moved them to a new bed. The same happened with my wimpy, wispy lavender, also started from seed a year ago. I also took a cutting from my mother’s rosemary plant a year ago. Just when it seemed to be giving up on life, I moved it to that same new bed as the sage and lavender. It about doubled in size in the last two months. Therefore, it was time to look into how I can use my herbs – enter: herbal infusion.
This is probably more evidence of my neglectfulness of fertilizer and regular watering. It may also be evidence that looser soils and nearby plants have a huge effect on herb growth. I’m hoping to do some propagation next year and double my woody herb collection. That’s a thought for another post, however. You and I have a lot to discuss when it comes to making a plan for next year, so I’ll leave it to another day.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. See more information at the bottom of this post.
The growth spurts from all of my herbs this summer has left me in a place of bounty!
I also planted peppermint, clary sage, lamb’s ear, lemon basil, and lavender cotton. I may be the first person ever to effectively over-prune my mint. It’s currently looking scraggly and sad, but if I don’t keep taking the flowers it’ll be peppermint hell out there in a few seasons! This leads me to our topic at hand: ways to infuse herbs and a couple quick how-tos to finish up your herb growing season.
Not as blessed with herbal growth this year? Below are a few links to buy some dried herbs so you can work on these projects anyway!
The vehicles I see most for herbal infusion are honey, vinegar, oil, and alcohol (called a tinctured in the herbalism world). There are almost infinite options for how to infuse herbs. From which oil you use, to what herbs you use or combine, and even to what you then use that infused substance for. You should always use glass to make infusions. Plastic and metal can interfere with your infusion.
My two current projects are Sage Mouthwash and Rosemary Honey.
To make your own Sage Mouthwash, try the following:
Harvest enough sage to fill a lidded jar. I used a canning jar. Try to find a lidded jar that is about half of the size of the final container you want to put your mouthwash in. Fill your lidded jar with your washed and dried sage, then fill the jar with vodka. Place your jar in a dark location for 3 weeks, shaking it daily (or as often as you can remember). After 3 weeks transfer the liquid to its final container, straining the leaves. Fill the rest of your container with purified water and it’s all ready to use!
Sage is great for the mouth as it’s an antiseptic herb that is great for the digestive system. Sage is also wonderful for balancing hormones, but because of its effect on hormones, it should not be used by those who are nursing or pregnant. For more information about the medicinal benefits of sage, please see WebMD’s listing for its proven uses.
To make your own Rosemary Honey, try the following:
Harvest enough rosemary to fill a third of whatever container you choose. Wash and dry your rosemary. Put your rosemary in the jar and fill the jar with honey, leaving at least half an inch of breathing room. Stir your rosemary around some to remove air bubbles. Once again, three weeks is the ticket! I suggest trying your honey at three weeks, and leaving it longer if it’s not rosemary-y enough for you yet.
Here are some thoughts on more ways you can create herbal infusions and how you can use them!
Infused Olive Oil for cooking
(thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, garlic, green onion . . . )
Infused Vinegar for salad dressing
(anything listed above, or anything else on hand. I’m thinking lavender infused vinegar may make for a great summer salad dressing)
Tinctures for your medicine cabinet
(Check out Survivopedia’s Survival Herbal Recipes)
Infuse Butter for everything. Just … put it on everything.
(thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, garlic, green onion, cinnamon, clove, basil . . . )
Infused Oil for making lotion or balms
For this, think of soothing oils that have neutral smells, like almond oil or grapeseed oil. Use healing herbs and flowers like calendula, lavender, dandelion and so on. MontanaHomesteader.com has a post on making herb-infused lotion, found here.
More infused honey ideas and uses
This article from TheKitchn.com was my original inspiration a few years ago to begin infusing honey. They have some ideas on how to use the honey, too. Article found here.
Just for shits and giggles, here is also a link directly to a Pinterest search for “herb infused.” If you have yet to discover the amazingness that is Pinterest, I urge you to jump on the bandwagon. Most people who are resistant believe that Pinterest is a place where women go to plan their imaginary weddings and crafts they will never get around to. In actuality, Pinterest is more of a search engine than a social platform. What makes it better than Google for finding tutorials and ideas is that it uses images. You can see what you’re getting into before you even click the link. This, for me, ensures that there actually ARE pictures – a vital part of an article for anyone who’s a visual learner.
Well, get crackin’ and let me know what you end up making!
Disclosure: Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation for your purchase.