I’ve decided that Mondays are ‘making’ days and last week I made thyme and orange butter – eventually that is; towards the end of the day (I did remember to leave the butter out to soften in the morning) and my daughter rather than go to bed wanted to help squeeze the oranges as you can see.

A thin slice of the butter tasted delicious with our vegetables that evening.

So the steps were:

1. Early in the day, take out the butter to soften.

2. Pick a handful of fresh thyme and strip the leaves from the stems.

3. Chop up the leaves until very fine.

4. Squeeze 1 to 2 oranges.

5. Place softened butter into a bowl, add the chopped thyme (approx. 2 tablespoons) and 1 to 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Mix well.

6. Place mixture on greaseproof paper and roll into a sausage shape, tuck in the ends and make sure the butter is totally enclosed in the paper.

7. Place in the freezer to harden.

8. Slice off a piece of the herb butter straight from the freezer as required and add to melt onto vegetables, meat, sauces……

For more detailed steps check my previous post How To Make Herb Butter, together with some suggested combinations.

Alternatively, check out my Herb E-book which also details which are the best herbs to grow for use in cooking, together with over 30 other theme ideas.

Most herbs will be at their most prolific from now until the end of the summer so make the most of this harvesting time.

Which one will you try?

If you have any favourites, feel free to leave a comment below.

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I hope that you enjoy this guest post by Rosalee de la Forêt covering how to use turmeric, this will give you a taste of a new Culinary Herbalism Course coming up soon from one of my most popular sponsors – Learning Herbs.

Golden Milk: An Ancient & Healing Remedy

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years for countless ailments. In recent years it has also caught the attention of western researchers and there are many studies touting its many benefits.

Some benefits include…

  • Digestion and the liver (Ulcers, diverticulitis, flatulence, leaky gut)
  • Heart heath (High blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol)
  • Immune support (Cancer, colds and flu, bronchitis)
  • Musculoskeletal strength and flexibility (Joint disorders, arthritis, pain)
  • Nervous system (Pain, Alzheimer’s)
  • Wound healing and healthy skin (Eczema, psoriasis)
  • Diabetes and Menstruation difficulties

Turmeric is pretty astonishing!

I learned this basic recipe from Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and I often suggest it to my clients with a lot of success.

K.P. Khalsa has a new course coming out this week called Culinary Herbalism.

This recipe is in two parts. First we make the paste and then we’ll explore how to use it.

To make the turmeric paste you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of water

Measure out the ingredients. The additional pepper makes the turmeric more bioavailable, meaning that you use less for better results. At these measurements the pepper is about 3% of the mixture.

Next add the powders and the water to a small sauce pan and mix well. Turn the heat to medium high and stir constantly until the mixture is a thick paste. This won’t take long!

Let this mixture cool and then keep it in a small jar in the fridge.

Now we’ll look at a variety of ways to use this mixture.

Golden Milk

To make Golden Milk you’ll need…

  • 1 cup of milk (or milk substitute if you don’t consume dairy)
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil, ghee or olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon or more of turmeric paste
  • honey to taste

Combine all the ingredients (except honey) in a saucepan and while stirring constantly heat the mixture until just before it boils.

Add honey to taste.

Other suggestions… this could be made into a smoothie. When blended it creates a beautifully foamy drink. Fruit could be added. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on top, etc. Experiment and enjoy!

Other options for turmeric paste

  • Add a small dollop of the paste on top of crackers and cheese.
  • Spread the paste on sandwich bread and continue with sandwich ingredients.

The best way to get our medicine is in our food.

Please check out this new course with K.P. Khalsa ALL ABOUT Culinary Herbalism. There is a video on making this recipe in the Culinary Herbalism course.

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I love calendula flowers; they are such a lovely cheerful colour which brightens any area in which they grow. They also have fantastic skin healing properties; antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

A poultice of the flowers can be used to help relieve stings, eczema, impetigo, burns, scalds, varicose veins, bruises, sores, boils, pulled muscles and more.

If you look at some of the skin healing creams or balms in the shops, you will see that a lot of them contain an extract of calendula.

Description

A hardy annual with daisy-like, single or double yellow or orange flowers from June to October. Leaves are light green and aromatic.

Site: Any free draining soil, prefers a sunny position

Height and Spread: 50cm to 70cm

How to grow, harvest and use calendula

Sow seeds either in pots under cover in the autumn then plant out in late spring after the risk of frost has gone, spacing them out 30 to 45cm apart. Alternatively, sow seeds outside (or in containers) in late spring, but protect from slugs.

Dead head flowers regularly to encourage more flowers. It self-seeds readily. Pinch out growing tips if growing in a container to stop it getting too tall.

Parts used

Flower petals with white ‘heel’ removed, young tender leaves.

Harvesting

Pick flowers as soon as they open during the summer. Pick leaves when young and tender for use in salads.

Household/skincare uses

Dry flowers at a low temperature for use in pot pourri, bath teas, herbal tea, skincare products or culinary use. An infusion of the flower petals can be used to clear up spots and nourish the skin.

Ornamental

Calendula is a cheerful addition to the garden and combines well with other plants eg feverfew, fennel, dill and rosemary. The dried petals can be used to add colour to pot pourri.

The photo below is one of my favourite  herby flower combinations: rosemary and calendula.  It looks and smells great and is so simple but effective.

Culinary Uses

The fresh or dried petals can and have been used in the past as a substitute for saffron. They give a golden colour and subtle flavour to soups, custards, rice, cookies and omelettes, milk desserts and the petals can be added to salads. I’ve used the petals in a fairy cake mixture as well

The young leaves have a slightly peppery taste and can be also be added to salads.

If using fresh petals or young leaves, wash them and use immediately.

Also ensure you have correctly identifed the plant, it should be Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold) and not Tagetes which is used in a totally different way.

I sowed my calendula seeds a couple of weeks ago and  the new shoots are just coming up. I’m trialling starting them off in pots and transplanting them later to try and give them a better chance against any slugs!

If you want to know how to make Marigold cream (and tincture) which is  good for relieving inflamed or itchy skin, you can read the Herb Society’s article here.

Alternatively, you could just stick them in a vase because they look so pretty!

Copyright 2011  Madeleine Giddens

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