Since my last post, so many things ---as usual!--- have happened. So let's get right into it!
Foraging by the Mall. I had the opportunity to pass behind the mall and see what was growing. I found some Violets, Sow Thistles, Dandelion and Coltsfoot leaves, the same plants as I've found in previous years. Last year there was a nice patch of Garlic Mustard, but not this year. Indeed, I find every year there tends to be a few plants that are prolific. Last year it was Garlic Mustard. The previous year it was Lamb's Quarter. This year...I'm not quite sure yet. To be discovered!
I also passed by the area close to the mall parking lot and saw lots of Mugwort growing. She's one that comes back year after year! Speaking of which, when I went to burlesque class, whom did I happen to see growing on a little patch of lawn? Mugwort! And several friends :) Side note: um yes, burlesque. Subject not related to plants however ;)
Mugwort. At this stage, she's quite small, as I've found Mugwort growing up to 5- 6 feet. Being a vermifuge like well-known Wormwood and being really bitter like Dandelion, you want to tincture the flowering tops one to use as medicine. You can then use the tincture to help dispel worms or take 30 drops 20-30 minutes before meals to help with digestion (bitters = increase in hydrochloric acid in the stomach and help with bile from the liver). I confess that I use the leaves (easier to collect before she flowers although I've used leaves once she's in flower) and dry them to add a small handful to soups and stews. You can also add a few chopped up leaves to a salad, much as you would with bitter Rue or Dandelion leaf.
Mugwort is the chosen herb in TCM for moxa, a fat incense stick that is used to dispel damp conditions by bringing it close to certain points on the body. Being antimicrobial, she can also be used to clean the air of bacteria when used as a smudge. Indeed, Mugwort (whom I fondly call Muggie) can be a great boon to those who practice energy medicine or massage, when you want to dispel bad vibes and energy from a room.
Being an invasive perennial, you'll be sure to find her growing somewhere near you (OK, well at least where I live up in the Northeast of the country!). I'll post more pictures of her later one, when her tiny flowers are in bloom :)
Plantain. Dandelion was of course hanging out on this same patch of lawn, as was Plantain. The Plantain leaves looked rather tough, as you can see by their wrinkled appearance in the photo. When it comes to tough leaves, I dry them to make infusions and I have dried them to use in future soups, especially during the winter months (funny how when you puree everything in a soup, you have no idea what's in there but it sure tastes yummy! all the more reason to add in some greens to the pot!!). I've juiced tougher leaves as well and you could certainly use them in a herbal vinegar. For salads and smoothies, you want smaller, more tender leaves. And while it is true that the best time to find tender leaves is in the spring or early summer, I've found tender leaves all throughout the season, especially on mowed lawns, as the leaves get cut back and have to produce new ones.
Plantain is called the boo-boo plant for good reason: if you have a cut or scrape or insect bite, take a leaf or two (you'll be eyeing for those bigger, tougher ones but any size will do) and chew it up in your mouth. Then spread this mush (yes, it's called a spit poultice and it's your own saliva so it's OK) onto the affected area. Being a cooling and vulnerary plant, Plantain will help to take out the redness, stinging and swelling. You can continue to repeat this process several more times, as the water will evaporate and the mushed up leaves will fall off. I've done with great success on insect bites: one insect bite had Plantain, the other didn't. The one that got treated started healing right away and healed faster as well. Plantain made me a believer!!
I should mention that if your boo-boo happens to take place at home, you can take a leaf and place it in boiling water, just enough to soften it and then place it (cool the leaf enough to handle first, like on a rack) onto the affected area. I should also mention that her vulnerary and cooling properties are used in an infusion for all kinds of internal inflammation, especially benefiting those with IBD, IBS, Crohn's, Colitis and other conditions. Best paired with soothing Marshmallow root and/or Slippery Elm bark.
Burdock. Doing this kind of healing with a plant, you'd almost think of it as a sort of bandage, wouldn't you? And Burdock leaves, even a young Burdock plant like this one, can be used to help with bandaging large wounds if you're out in the field and get hurt. Now, I've never used her leaves as toilet paper (Mullein leaves are softer for that), but I've seen it mentioned before!
Burdock is biennial plant, which means in the 1st year she stays small and low to the ground. In the 2nd year she shoots up a big central stem and has pretty purple flowers. Many know about her because of her tacky, velcro-like seeds which stick to clothing, pets, bags and anything else they come in contact with!
There are actually 2 types of Burdock, lesser and major, and that just means that there is a small version and a bigger version of the plant!
Burdock is quite nifty, I must add, because her:
Cleavers. Sometimes you'll see it written as Clivers, but it's still the same plant. This was actually the first time I've seen Cleavers growing "in the wild" ---> meaning that this patch of lawn was close to a busy street on one side and close to a small wild forest area on the other.
I love the rough texture of Cleavers strangely and have never been bothered by it. She's a great one for weight loss, as a diuretic and to detox the lymphatic system. You can dry her at any time, before or after she flowers, for infusions. She's easily juiced, and you can even cook her like spinach and then her use as you would spinach: in an egg frittata, to soups and stews, casseroles and pates, with pasta...or what have you.
Lamb's Quarter. Speaking of spinach, Lamb's Q is another spinach substitute. She's had a bad rap by some being high in oxalates, but there are many foods which contain oxalates, spinach and chocolate being two of them! I don't worry much about it and steam Lamb's Q or throw her into the soup pot. I've also juiced her and added her to smoothies. You can also dry the leaves and seeds and then grind them to a powder (like a "greens powder") and add to baked goods or smoothies for extra nutrition. Yummers! Free food!
FYI: This is a good tip which you might find be useful to help you identify plants. Get some seeds (such as from Richters) of different wild plants and plant them in your garden OR in a pot. You'll then be able to see how they grow at different stages. When you go out in the field and think a plant might be, like in this case, Cleavers, you can then bring a sample of the unknown plant and compare it with the one you have growing. I have been doing this with several plants, and am now able to positively identify, for example, Queen Anne's Lace, Lamb's Quarter, Cleavers, Chickweed, Purslane and many others. Just be sure you offer the proper care for your wild plants and be aware of how invasive they can be (container gardening might be best) ---> I've been growing Comfrey, which has a long tap root, in an old, tall garbage pail!
Seeing as how this post has gotten long, I'll tell you all about my encounters with old and new friends at my herb and tell you have seeds I've sown in my balcony garden next time around. 'Til then, sunshine, keep burnin' bright :)
Busy day in the balcony garden.
Harvested some Chervil, which is just like Parsley but with an anise taste. Really good for digestion, and you can dry her and use her for tea for that purpose. Otherwise, just like Parsley, Chervil can be juiced, added to smoothies, soups, stews and used as a flavoring. I could see her being turned into a glycerite....Didn't think of that at the time, because ~yeppers!~ she'll be a nice flavoring for my next wild green pesto :)
Oh, and since I was quite fond of her, I sowed some more seeds to enjoy a future bounty! Yep, she is a cut-and-come again kinda plant :)
Also planted the last of Wormwood seeds as 2x when I sowed, nothing showed. Seriously thinking about finding another seed company....C'mon now Wormwood, a little magic in the pot will do!
Harvested Sweet Cicely, she's almost the same like Chervil with an anise taste. Being good for digestion, she's also anti-spasmodic, so I'm drying her leaves for tea. I remember thinking she'd make a good sugar substitute, but I don't see it happening. No, just like Chervil, soups & stews, as a flavoring, and in smoothies & juices. Maybe for pesto too :) The root can be steamed like Parsnip and I'm thinking that Chervil's root might be edible too. Mmm, new goodies to add to the palate, wa-hoo!
Found Lamb's Q and Pellitory growing with Sweet Cicely, dwarfed by her leaves, heheh. Repotted them in another pot to let them grow big and strong for future pestos. Gotta love those wild weeds, I sure do :)
Harvested Savory, Bee Balm leaves (no flowers yet), Sage, Marjoram and Oregano. Those last two were in the process of making flowers. Not just yet, I told them, there's time enough still.
Sprayed Cuke leaves again, those aphids! Added another bamboo trellis so Cukes can climb up. There are a couple starting to grow and I told Cuke I'm fully expecting lots and lots of yummy Cukes, aphids be gone now!
Harvested Cleavers, that sticky plant, she really does remind me of a cross between Chickweed in the look and Stinging Nettle in that she has those little clippers. Going to try her for future tea to flush out the lymphatic system. Hope I'll be able to get in another harvest before the colder weather comes in the fall. Thought about making a tincture with her, but I think she'll be OK with other herbs in an infusion....
Went downstairs and collected about 2 fistfuls of Prunella. Also got a fistful of Violet leaves and Common Sow Thistles for a future pesto. Saw some blue moth butterflies hovering on the Prunella. One stopped to spread her wings just in front of me, then off she went to nestle on a White Clover. Such lovely beauties are all around :) Sure gave me a meditative pause, and a smile :)
Guess what I found growing in my neighbor's yard? Purslane! Oh goodness be! Never seen her there before, must be because some of the seeds from my little balcony garden made it via the wind to her garden. Since she's not into weeds at all, I harvested the omega 3 rich leaves and will most certainly add them to my next pesto recipe. Oh, the bounty of summer goodness! :)
Speaking of which, seems that the Violet I got from work also had Creeping Charlie in there, because when I went to check up on the plants by the side of the house, that creeper was creeping out Violet! Gonna have to harvest her out, poor Violet. Will use Creeper's leaves in a pesto or soup. Maybe soup as this is one wild green that I'm not so found of taste-wise, and all greens pretty much taste the same when boiled down in the cauldron ;)
Looking bright and sunny tomorrow, so you know I'm going to be making it a foraging day! Ah yes, let's throw it open to the wind and see what sweet beauties Mother Nature offers up... for food and medicine, of course.
Now to see if I should visit Buckthorn woods, the new place by the mall, or take a longer trip out west to a huge field out there....
Keep ya posted, sunshine, and stay shining now, ya hear :)
I have a confession to make. It's a little...secret. A fault of mine, I suppose.
Here goes...I always seem to underestimate how long it will really take me when I'm out gardening!!
(sarcastically) Oh, I know, terrible.
I thought that I didn't have much gardening left to do. Suddenly, when I found myself stepping on dirt on my kitchen floor, with more earth on my kitchen island, I could see it was a low-earth (as opposed to "high-tide") gardening day.
While Sweet William got a pruning and was left to stay in the pot to come back next year (she's a biennial and her flowers are sweet, like a sugar substitute---you want to grow her, I tell you!), Yarrow also got a pruning but her leaves were left to dry. I tinkered with making another tincture with her leaves, but the real medicine is in her flowers. Yarrow is also a biennial, I'm sure of it. Well, at least in my pot she is!
I hauled up the whole plants of Marshmallow and Mallow (mine is the sylvestris type). The root is what's used as medicine, really to soothe inflamed intestines with their mucilaginous quality, but also to repair a leaky gut with their vulnerary ability. I use both the same way AND I use the whole plant, including stem, leaf and root.
I chopped the stem from the root, then chopped leaf and stem with the pruners into small bits. Easier to store that way. I then gave a good washing to the roots, then chopped them into bits as well. All are on mesh sheets of my dehydrator, air drying.
Some do use a scrub brush (zero water) on roots, but I'm not keen on the method. I've done that before, and let me tell you that tea tasted like it had dirt in it! Yeah sure, I know about the benefits of soil-based probiotics. But this is different. It's a root that gets decocted, then drunk. Think the friendly guys have gone bye-bye with all that boiling!
I pruned Comfrey, they are both doing very well in their tall homes, thanks very much for asking. Nettles in both pots had mold on the top surface of the earth. When I went to remove it, I also noticed my not-so-friendly friends, aka fungus gnats. I put diatomaceous earth on the surface and placed both plants outside. I may just leave them to overwinter. I have another pot with some Nettle that is just fine.
Wouldn't you know, but I even made a tincture. No of course I wasn't planning to! But guess who I found when I was pulling up Mugwort, root and all? Sheep Sorrel! Whowhee! You remember I was talking about her intricate root system in a previous post? Yep, she sure decided to send runners everywhere, and I even got a few leaves for tomorrow's steamed-veggie-bowl lunch!
Mugwort Root & Sheep Sorrel Tincture
Dig up roots in the fall. Remove as much earth as you can, then use water to wash off the rest of the earth. Chop roots into small pieces using pruners or scissors. Fill a mason jar to the top with the roots. How much roots you have will determine what size jar you use. Pour 80-100% proof (alcohol content: 40-50%) to the top, place on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks. Strain and store in dark amber bottles.
Do note that Sheep Sorrel contains oxalates, so shouldn't be used for those with kidney stones.
Why would you use this tincture?
I could smell the thujone in the Mugwort chopping up those roots. Yahoo! There's medicine in that there bottle, as Mr. Wilson might perchance say ;)
Funny, but true, I also sowed seeds, despite that the winter weather is coming. 4 containers of Chickweed, to be exact! I mentioned in a previous post Chickweed's affinity for mopping up fat: she dissolves fatty tumors and plaque in blood vessels, plus she's an appetite suppressant, so great for weight loss. She's another blood purifier, helping to flush toxins from the body, as well as helping to reduce swollen glands. You can also use Chickweed to help with asthma and pneumonia, to help lubricate joints and to deal with chronic cystitis.
Yep, you can tell that my love for her means I'll soon be putting love to pen when I write about her in a future article :)
I also sowed some Cleaver and Echinacea. I wanted to plant the more potent variety of Echinacea, which would be angustifolia, but she seems finicky to grow, so I went with purpurea. Hey, I'm just happy if she'll come along, because growing in a pot is quite confining compared to the big open garden ;)
Echinacea is one that many people know of being most useful for colds and infections.
Cleavers is less known, but is an excellent herb for helping with lymphatic issues, including swollen glands and edema. You can also cook cleavers like you would spinach and her roasted seeds make a coffee substitute. Well, she is in the same family as coffee.
Now my gardening tasks are really reduced: 'mum is still outside, but I think I will giver her to my neighbor to put in garden as she is a perennial. I have 2 baskets of Nasturtium still flowering and enjoying the cooler weather, so will wait for her to make more seeds. Otherwise: that's it! My big chore is to remove the earth from the empty pots and store it in bags, then place pots and earth in the shed. A messy job, I know.
Foraging awaits! Look for my adventures next time, sunshine :) And enjoy that fall weather, ya hear ;)
Hollyhock/Marshmallow/Mallow for Leaky Gut, Benefits of Chickweed, Comfrey & Cleavers + Vanilla Extract & Stevia Glycerin Recipes
September 22, the first day of fall. How did you end up spending this day to mark the new season?
I spent yesterday and today gardening. I thought about going foraging for Red Clover and some Rose Hips, but gardening tasks awaited!
I don't know if you have a garden, but I spent hours today with just my little balcony garden! Seems like there is always something to do in the garden. I'm sure when I have my own garden, I'll easily spend the whole day fussing about in it :)
Here were just a few of my gardening tasks:
I bought two tall planters and repotted my Comfrey plants to bring them in during the colder months.
Comfrey has had a bad rap recently---banned in Canada in health food stores at the time of this writing, but you can still buy seeds and grow her yourself. And you want to, because her leaves and flowers have great medicine: she is a vulnerary par excellence, both internally and externally. That means sprains, strains, broken bones as well as inflamed intestinal bits benefit from her healing action.
Parts not to use: root. Since she does contain PAs (pyrroazaline alkaloids), you can use her leaves before she flowers and when she is in in flower. It's common to harvest comfrey, usually the top 1/3 of the plant, when she is in flower. You CAN use comfrey for EXTERNAL APPLICATION after she has flowered. I'll probably write more about her healing actions in another diary post.
I noticed several yellow bugs on Mallow, and hauled up leaf, stem, root and all! The mallow I have growing is malva sylvestris, but there is also Common Mallow, or malva neglecta. The flower, leaf, stem & root of either one can be used like Marshmallow root to make a tea which helps to heal inflamed mucous membranes.
Naturopaths encourage the use of Marshmallow tea to help heal leaky gut, but you can use Mallow as well. Hollyhock root can also be used similarly.
To make this tea, you have to decoct it. That means you use 1 ounce herb + 4 cups water. Place in a ceramic or glass pot, covered. Let come to a boil, then simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Strain and drink tea!
I had several Sheep Sorrel plants growing in a pot and I first chopped off all the greens ---which I'll steam and eat tomorrow---then hauled up the roots. As I mentioned in a previous diary post, Sorrel roots are used in the famous Essiac Tea, but you can make a decoction and drink the tea like that, too.
I bought an Aloe Vera from the health food store yesterday and she was in sore need of a repotting! They were marketing her as a great food to use, and while that's true (and much, MUCH better to use her fresh than when bottled with citric acid, which is not a friendly ingredient to the kidneys), many people know Aloe Vera for her healing properties, especially for burns and sunburns. Of course, you can also use her to help with cuts, sores and other skin abrasions.
I had previously bought another Aloe Vera plant from Walmart. I know, I know, definitely not the best place to be buying plants. I haven't used any of her medicine, in fact, two of her leaves seem to be drying up and dying. I did repot both Aloe Veras, and we'll see how they fair growing inside now that cooler days loom ahead.
I pruned the leaves from Purslane and put the stalks in the compost. Yum! Omega 3-rich food for tomorrow's lunch! Purslane is frost tender, you bet. She's a succulent, definitely a desert plant. Even growing her inside during the cold months, she'll growing readily, then feel it's too cold, and die. I had to plant Purslane seeds 3X this year because the cold winter seemed to linger and linger. We even had snow in April, sniff sniff. What happened to April showers bring May flowers? Harrumph, snow showers = a very short gardening season, so appreciate what you can ;)
Out of all my plants that I had repotted this year, Oregano was the sole one that never got any attention. Until today. And boy, was she root-bound. Since I've been figuring out what plants I will be bringing inside to grow during the winter months, I thought I'd have Oregano, Thyme and Marjoram all growing in one big pot together. But, nuh-uh, Oregano needed all the space to herself in just one pot! I placed Thyme and Marjoram in another pot together, but I may just add them with Sage if I run out of room. Only so much space in my apartment, and while there is a lovely sunny patio door, only so many plants can crowd around to enjoy the light!
Yesterday saw Nettle growing in 3 pots getting a pruning. They are all growing so well since I moved them to the front balcony where they get the afternoon sun. I think they were frying in the heat being on the back balcony with the morning and mid-day sun. Nettles are in the mint family, and I have found in my experience that part-sun seems to suit the Mint family better than full sun.
Yesterday (and the weekend, too) saw me pruning Lemon Balm. Oh, Lemon Balm! I was supposed to make Lemon Balm candy with your fresh leaves but I forgot! I dried you in the dehydrator to enjoy your spicy, lemony goodness in tea and to add to my soups...Ah well, I have a bit of fresh Lemon Balm that I harvested just today, so I may try that candy recipe yet!
Yes, that was another one of "gardening tasks" today: taking out the dried herbs from the dehydrator and placing them in paper bags and jars to keep for future days. That's the other part of gardening and foraging: first you harvest, then you have to cut them into smaller bits, OR clean the roots, OR remove the leaves from the stems, then dry them onto racks in the dehydrator or on newspaper or parchment paper, OR you make medicine, like tinctures, oils and vinegars.
My friend noticed that I was drying some herbs on flyers I received in the mail and asked if I was worried about the ink from the flyers going into the herbs. Oops, I never thought about that! Time to make the switch to soy-based parchment paper!
I had plants on every single step coming up the front balcony.
Gone. All gone.
Instead, just before coming up the stairs are 3 plants to greet you: Chrysanthemum, that good old fall favorite, which I will use her flowers to make a perfume; Yarrow, first year still in leaf, and I'm pretty sure she acts like a biennial plant because of the Canadian climate; and Mallow, tons of flowers and so far seemingly aphid/bug free. I added in two friendly straw farmers to welcome the fall season: Farmer Wilson and Farmer Asoka! :))
Speaking of that Chrysanthemum plant, oh-my-goodness. Yes, I used dashes to separate the words for emphasis, but I could have used periods instead to muster in that frustration and work I experienced trying to get her out of the purse. Yes, I had a Chrysanthemum plant growing in a hot orange purse, a showy color to greet you as you came up the driveway. Well, mum certainly has big roots and she was root bound growing in that small space, I can tell ya. Not only root bound, it seemed her roots were stuck into the fabric lining and there was a hole in the bottom of the purse that she was trying to escape a leg, er, root, out of.
Trying not to hurt/damage her while getting this mass of soil and roots out of a purse was a daunting experience: dare I use shears to cut the purse open? Dare I use a purse as a planter again? Should I just leave mum in the purse or continue slowing using one hand to pull up on her roots while holding and pulling in the opposite direction on the bottom of the purse?
She finally gave, thank god, and I threw the purse out. Small plants would be OK growing in a purse, I suppose, but a plant with a shallow root system, perhaps like Chickweed. Mum was most certainly happy when I put her in a huge pot to let her continue growing her flowers, which are still in bud form and seem to just be waiting for that opportunity to flower. Can't wait, mum!
Chickweed, speaking of, I ordered more seeds. Tincture of Chickweed is supposed to be great to help with cysts of any kind, including ovarian cysts and fibroids. You can also add her to green smoothies and green juices, make pesto with her and even drink her tea. Oh yes, being high in saponins, her tea is great to help mop up fat and is a boon to weight loss! She's also high in minerals and is super easy to grow, plus she tastes like a mild salad green. I have 2 pots growing with Chickweed, but decided to order more seeds as she also loves the shade. Yes, great plant for those shady areas AND she makes great ground cover. Just win-win-win all around. Did I mention you can also cook her like spinach? Great to use in quiches and such! Yum!
I also ordered Cleavers because all the Cleavers (or Clivers) seeds I sowed never took. Not one. I blame the weather, of course, because not only was there snow in April still, June was an exceptionally wet month. Summer didn't finally show up until July. Plus, many of my other seeds that I sowed also didn't grow in. Cleaver tincture is great to work on the lymphatic system, helping to detox the body of toxins and also helpful for any lymphatic swelling, including edema and water retention. She can be quite aggressive in growing, just like the mint family, but no worries if you have her contained in a pot, as I will be.
I also ordered some Stevia seeds, which are pricey, but oh-so-worth it. I've been buying my Stevia plants from the non-organic flower market every year, but wanted to have some on hand when needed. Stevia is an annual, you see, although she does grow remarkably well indoors during the winter. She really likes sun, a lot of sun and full sun. I buy a Stevia plant in June and by the next year around the spring, even though she's been growing well all the time during the winter months and now the sunny spring weather has come, she starts to not look so good and dies off.
Even in a pot, she does really well. Because her leaves are not organic, here is what I do when I first get Stevia (and what you can do, too): first, I take off her larger leaves. She's like mint in that there will always be a set of 2 smaller leaves that grow where 2 larger leaves are growing. I take off the larger leaves, then, when these smaller leaves have grown into bigger leaves, I take these off too. I compost all of these leaves (I don't use them).
I place Stevia in a big pot, with organic soil, and fertilize her 1-2 X a week with an organic kelp/fish oil solution. Full sun of course, as I mentioned. When the 3rd set of leaves are large (with 2 baby leaves growing underneath), I now harvest and use those leaves and all future leaves then on. I dry the leaves and then use them to make infusions.
The standard to make an infusion is 1 oz + 4 cups boiled water in a 1-liter mason jar. Lid and screw cap on, then sit let 4 hours (or up to 8 hours), strain and use. Leftover refrigerated 2-3 days. Stevia can get bitter when left to infuse for so long, so I've used her after steeping for 30 minutes to 2 hours. I don't weigh my herbs when making infusions or decoctions, but I'm sure I've used more than 1 ounce to make a really strong infusion.
With this Stevia liquid, I then use her to sweeten tea, and in my cake, muffin, bread, jello, jelly and candy recipes.
Another way to use Stevia is to make a glycerite. If you've ever purchased vanilla, you'll notice that vanilla is often sold with alcohol as an ingredient. Why? Because this is just a vanilla tincture! You can actually make your own more cheaply than buying the store-bought version:
Easy-Peasy Vanilla Extract Recipe
Use fresh vanilla beans, slightly packed in a mason jar and pour 50% alcohol to cover. Lid and screw cap on, let it infuse for 6 weeks. Strain and keep the tincture/extract in a dark colored bottle.
The size of mason jar you use depends how much vanilla beans you have. I'm figuring you'll be using a tiny jar, because even fresh vanilla are rather pricey :)
If you don't care for the alcohol, you can make vanilla glycerite, which is sold as vanilla glycerin. Same process as above:
Easy-Peasy Vanilla Glycerite Recipe
Use fresh vanilla beans, slightly packed in a mason jar. Add in food grade glycerin to the top. Put on lid and screw cap and let sit for 6 weeks. Strain and store the glycerite in a dark, amber bottle.
OK, but what about Stevia glycerite? Same thing:
Stevia Glycerite Recipe
Place fresh Stevia leaves, slightly packed, in a mason jar. Choice of jar (250/500/1000ml) depends on how many leaves you have. Pour food grade glycerin over leaves to top of jar, put on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks. Strain (a nut milk bag works nicely for this, but you could use a sieve too) and store stevia glycerin in a dark amber bottle.
Now use the Stevia glycerin to sweeten tea and when making desserts. I find using glycerin this way to be better for making no-bake desserts because most muffin and cake recipes require a lot of sweetener (which is why using stevia infusion is a better choice!).
FYI: Some people don't like the taste of Stevia whatever way you use her, which is why she is often sold as an extraction (they extract the sweet principle in her, usually Reb. A), by herself and often with another sweetener. The other sweetener is also a low glycemic/low calorie sweetener, such as rice maltodextrin, erythritol, monk fruit, xylitol or a combination of these.
I'm thinking of a friend right now as I write this, because he always knows there is stevia in whatever goody he is eating and he always makes that I-can't-stand-it-taste! Doesn't matter the type of stevia or if she's paired with another sweetener. A stevia lover, he is not. To each their own!
I personally love Stevia: love seeing her growing, love being with her and pruning her leaves, love just seeing her. She has a sweet energy that is definitely imparted in her leaves, and I'm most happy to know her and benefit from her sweetness in my goodies :)
Weather looks bright and sunny, so I'm hoping to get in a bit of foraging tomorrow. Looking to get some Red Clover blossoms and whatever other herbs are interested in sharing with me their medicine or food.
Fall is upon us, and there will be ample time to collect roots, whenever the opportunity strikes. Which reminds me, since I am writing an article on Mugwort, that her ROOT is considered an excellent stomachic---that means if you have digestive issues, you might want to be taking a tincture of her before your meals OR drinking in a cup of her root tea (you'll need to decoct it and by the way, she is bitter).
Enjoy the many sunny days of fall ahead, sunshine :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: