Teas and Bees

September 08, 2016

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The Secrets of Preserving Basil

Even though we don’t want to be the first to say it, somehow the summer is coming to an end…One of the things we have enjoyed during this hot summer season is our garden. We have been absolutely crazy about our fresh veggies, and are so grateful for all our wonderful crops. But while some things went all too fast (we ate our cherry tomatoes right off the vine in about 5 minutes), there are some that seem to be never-ending. We planted our basil plants around mid-June, and after only a month our backyard is covered in it!

 

What is better than the aroma of fresh basil? There is nothing like inhaling a fresh handful of it…a smell that invigorates body, mind, and spirit. But what to do with all that basil when your 3-inch seedlings grow into 3-foot bushes? Of course we have spoiled ourselves many times with quite the summer recipe of ripe tomatoes simmered into a sauce with sprinkles of basil…our family’s famous greensauce pesto with gnocchi…the perfect caprese salad, fresh basil julienned on top…mmm.

But no matter how much we ate…it just seemed to keep growing! We figured we needed to come up with a plan. And so, we thought of some of the most satisfying ways to preserve your basil crop. When life gets a little crazy (cause don’t we know, it does!) and you start to get a little overwhelmed and don’t want to waste that great basil in your backyards…here are a couple options we love:

Some Satisfying Ways to Preserve Your Basil 

  • Dry it. This is an easy and simple option for your bunches of basil, but obviously it loses some of its vitality. We do think this is a great choice to replace our bottled store-bought dry basil. The easiest method is using a food dehydrator (we use a Sedona dehydrator), but of course not everyone has one of those. No worries, a traditional oven can also be used. Turn your oven on to the lowest possible setting (so the high heat doesn’t damage the essential oils in the basil). Once it’s warm, turn off the oven and place your basil inside on a cookie sheet. Leave the basil in the oven for an hour. Turn the oven back onto the lowest setting for 10-15 minutes. Repeat every hour until the herb is brittle. You can also hang dry bunches of basil, upside-down by the stem in a warm, dry, well-ventilated room for a week or more. Once the basil is brittle to the touch it’s ready. 
  • Freeze it. Blanch fresh leaves to destroy enzymes that would normally turn the basil black over time. Then, pack thin layers in plastic bags or containers. This is awesome to use in recipes for a subtle flavor, but don’t expect this to pack the same punch as fresh basil.
  • Make precursor to pesto. Blend 2 cups basil, 1 large clove of garlic and enough olive oil to process together. This can then be refrigerated or frozen in useful-size batches. If storing in the refrigerator, be sure to top the pesto mixture with a ½ inch layer of olive oil to help preserve it. We can’t lie; it’s pretty satisfying to pull one of these out in the middle of the winter! Add some cherry tomatoes and mozzarella for an even bigger treat.

And our latest obsession: BASIL SALT!

We were so excited to recently discover basil salt…it is so, so easy, lasts indefinitely and can be used for so many yummy recipes!

  • Mix ½ cup basil leaves, chopped fine, with 2 tbsp. of kosher salt and store in sealed jar. Voila!
  • For ours we used Redmond Real Salt (Kosher Sea Salt) and made 4 times the recipe (2 cups basil leaves, 8 tbsp. salt) ending up with ½ pint jar. 

Anytime you need basil and salt together in a dish, this is the perfect secret ingredient to use for that mouth-watering taste of summer basil. And as if it were still on the plant…open that jar, containing your perfect emerald salt, and there’s that aroma of fresh basil we love!

 

How do you preserve your summer crops? Tell us about it!

 

Light & Love

September 08, 2016

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Why Nettle Works as a Treatment for Seasonal Allergies

Nettle (Urtica Dioica) has been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms, particularly hayfever which is the most common allergy problem. It contains biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. Dr. Andrew Wiel M.D. author of Natural Health/ Natural Medicine says he knows of nothing more effective than nettle for allergy relief. And his statement is backed up by studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Sting Nettle really does sting, until heated.

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September 08, 2016

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Healing is Only a Cup Away

Regarded for thousands of years by Native Americans to be a key to good health, medicinal herbal teas can assist us in a myriad of ways. Whether it’s treating an acute ailment such as the common cold or long-term benefits such as toning and strengthening the organ systems, it’s a gentle yet effective way to boost overall health and well-being. Consider creating a daily ritual of drinking an herbal tea blend. Toronto based herbalist Marcia Dixon supports this idea. “If you drink tea everyday, you can make all sorts of significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.”

 

 

Herbal teas are rich in nutrients, particularly minerals that are readily absorbed by the body without stressing the digestive system. It’s much like a super food that can heal the body gently because of the uptake of nutrients. “In a lot of ways, we might get more benefit from a good organic tea than from a vitamin pill,” says herbalist Marianne Beacon of Elderberry Herbals in Peterborough, ON. A great benefit of this is that when you consume a particular blend over time, it can strengthen and tone organ systems creating long-lasting benefits. When an herbal blend is targeting a particular outcome and is prepared properly, a medicinal effect can be achieved.

 

It is important to have a proper method of infusion to achieve medicinal effects. After 25 years of formulating and drinking herbal teas, this is the method I value and have found most effective in achieving a potent brew. You need a proper steeping vessel like a French press or a tea maker that allows the herbs to steep loose while staying covered. I find it’s essential to cover your brew right away so the volatile oils from the herbs, so valuable toward effectiveness, do not escape into the air. That’s why Dixon says, “otherwise, your room smells nice but you’re not retaining the medicinal properties.” So begin by measuring 1 tbsp. herb per cup of water into the steeping vessel. To fill an average 16 oz. mug it usually ends up to be 2 tbsp. herb for 2 cups water. Pour just boiled water over herbs and cover to steep 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy! The tea will still be nice and hot and the herbs will have had a sufficient time to steep. You might be thinking a loose-leaf tea spares convenience, but when you have this down it’s a snap. Plus you have a high quality drink while getting more value for your buck. You’ll get 2 to 3 times more loose-leaf tea for the value of 1 tea bag.

 

As we approach the cooler months of the year when Mother Nature is dying back and preparing to rest, our bodies seem to need extra support. Drinking a medicinal tea can do just that, while also tasting good. It is a little known fact that certain organ systems are more vulnerable in each season of the year. During the winter months we want to boost our kidneys and bladder by drinking a blend of herbs such as, nettle leaf, alfalfa, chamomile, marshmallow root and oat straw. Stress is also a given during the holiday season, so targeting herbs to tone your nervous system and to keep you calm can be so important and helpful. Some suggestions would be to blend herbs such as lemon balm, chamomile, skullcap, spearmint, lavender and passionflower. Incorporating a tea ritual as part of your day gives you a message to pause, reflect and restore your balance and well-being. It’s an incredible way to nurture and treat your self well with little time spent on the process.

 Winter Herbal Tea

Winter Herbal Tea

 

So let’s get started toward optimum health, in such an easy and delightful way, by brewing up a favorite herbal tea. We often forget that something so simple and affordable can have great impact on our health. This time honored medicine has been proven powerful over millenniums.   Simply choose a single herb, or blend for your particular needs, and a steeping vessel of choice. Voila, a perfect marriage! Enjoy an ancient medicine way for modern times.

 

Light & Love

September 08, 2016

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“Make Yourself at Home!”

A Travel Ritual That Really Works

 

Whenever I’m traveling and find myself in a hotel room, I make sure to never be without my favorite sprays. While the Essential Protection Spray focuses on clearing airborne pathogens (germs!), our Energetic Clearing Spray will clear and uplift the energy in the room, based on the influence of its blend of essential oils. Because of how frequently hotel rooms are visited, one can imagine the multitude of energies left behind. Energies are alive and they can linger in the corners of rooms, so I like to perform this simple ritual.

 

 

Immediately upon arrival I begin at the entranceway and spray the Essential Protection around the entire parameter of the rooms, including bathroom fixtures for germ clearing. Then I follow the same pathway with the Energetic Clearing Spray. When I finish this process, which doesn’t take long, you can feel the energy in the space lift, and literally feel like it’s your home. When traveling with my family, they comment every time that they cannot believe the difference.

 

Not everyone is knowingly sensitive to the energies in his or her environment, nonetheless this makes a huge impact on how one feels while traveling. Try it yourself and tell us how it goes!

 

Light & Love

 

May 01, 2013

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Lyme Disease Awareness Month 2013: Keeping Ticks At Bay In Your Own Yard.

While warmer weather and increased outdoor activities finds more Americans outside, it also puts them at greater risk for encountering ticks and contracting Lyme disease.  At the start of May's National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Turtle Moon has tips to help homeowners tick-proof their yards and outdoor spaces.

Reported cases of Lyme disease continue to rise with more than 280,000 Americans being diagnosed since 2002, with an additional 30,000 diagnoses just last year.  Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  An illness that can have lifelong debilitating effects such as arthritis, fatigue and even neurological deficits, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged or deer ticks.

                            

Turtle Moon Health recommends the following steps for tick-proof yards and for protecting your loved ones during outdoor activities:

  1. Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don't position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.
  2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.
  3. Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
  4. Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
  5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home.  Use natural sprays, such as Turtle Moon's Mosquito and Tick Repellent
  6. Protect your family. If you venture into tick territory, pump-up the deterrent properties of your pants.  Plant-based formulas that deter ticks are made with lemon eucalyptus oil.  This is just one of the active natural ingredients in Turtle Moon's Herbal Insect Repellent
By applying these easy precautions you can still safely enjoy the outdoors this season!
(via Harold Online)