December 22, 2011

Infused herbs

In my garden I have rosemary and lavender. These are two of my favorite scents, and for a home-made goodie this year, I decided to try and do something with them.  I searched the internet for instructions on making herb-infused oils and salts, but most of the instructions used essential oils that were purchased.  I wanted instructions that started a step back from that since I had the actual herbs. I finally found what I was looking for here.

The Herb Gardener includes instructions for making lavender sugar and Martha Stewart has instructions for making rosemary salt.

I ended up making them both in a similar way.  I picked branches from lavender and rosemary in my garden and cleaned them.  Then I put the branches of rosemary in a big soup pot of sea salt, and baked it in the oven at the lowest temp my oven allows (170). I stirred every few minutes so that the oils would ooze out of the leaves onto the salts. I did the same thing with the lavender and sugar.  I wanted to make the lavender sugar purple, though, so after I had the scent I wanted, I moved the soup pot to the stove. I mixed red and blue food coloring with the slightest bit of water and sprinkled it over the scented sugar, stirring immediately. The color slowly distributed as I stirred and eventually turned a pretty shade of, well, lavender!

I used old baby food jars to package them.  The scented salts were labeled with a tag that said, "Turkey Rub: rosemary-infused salt, pepper," and I added a pretty piece of fabric over the lid. The salts can be used to prepare a roast turkey, but could also be yummy on a potato, in a stir-fry, or just about any other savory dish. The sugar's label said, "Lavender Sugar: add to herbal teas or lemonade or mix 1 tsp. with a Tbsp. of olive oil for a body scrub." It is really delicious in herbal tea.  Tea alone is relaxing, but with the added scent of lavender, it is particularly nice.

I would add that rosemary is very easy to grow! It is a kind of evergreen, so after it is established, it stays around to use again and again. Lavender is harder, but read up a bit so you plant them in a good spot, buy fairly mature plants, and you'll be fine.

I gave the salt and sugar to friends and co-workers as little Thanksgiving and Christmas presents this year. It's a sweet (or salty!) something from my garden and my kitchen, but was inexpensive and easy to make.


T of The Darwin Girls said...

What an awesome idea! I wish I could get herbs to grow here.

T of The Darwin Girls said...

OMG I just used the Lemon Lavender Scrub and it is A.MAZE.ING!!!!!! I think you have a small business on your hands. I loved the scent - perfect for morning and the olive oil left my skin super soft. I've already got more ideas for your skin care line :)

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