Well, I'm back after our move from Dallas to Allen TX. I'm happy to report that all the weird shit I had in jars made the move without incident. Storage in this house is more limited than in the old house so I am still figuring out the best place to store my stash. Since my last post I have made several herbal oils, some Motherwort tincture and Kombucha and Kefir.
First, here is a plantain oil steeping away. This is fresh plantain leaves (Plantago Major) I bought from Pacific Botanicals steeped in olive oil I got from Costco. This will be great for the itchies I get on my back and bug bites and ant bites we get down here in Texas. It is also really wonderful to soothe the itch of haemorroids.
Next up I have Fresh Motherwort in 100 Proof alcohol. I don't have Motherwort ( Leonurus Cardiaca) growing near me so again I purchased mine from Pacific Botanicals . This tincture is a heart supportive, anxiety calming wonder elixir. I use the flowering tops and upper stalks and let them steep for at least 6 weeks. Then I'll bottle this up and use like Rescue Remedy for anxiety. All the members of my household suffer from excessive anxiety from time to time so I am really happy to have this plant at my disposal.
My most recent exploits have been making Kombucha tea and milk kefir again. I first had both of these funky foods at The Wise Woman Center run by the amazing Susun Weed in 1994. Kombucha is a effervescent drink made by fermenting sweetened tea using this nasty looking blobby thing called a SCOBY or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts. You put this other-worldly looking thing in a sweet tea solution and let it sit for about a week or two then begin to drink it. The Scoby ferments the sugar and you get this fizzy, sweet or vinegary drink that is full of great probiotic buggies to help one's gut live a happy life. It is fun to make this brew but you do need a scoby to get started. I couldn't find anyone locally who had a scoby to share so I went to Whole Foods and bought a bottle of kombucha and left it out for a week and it grew a tiny Scoby that I then used to ferment a batch of sweet green tea. I have always had my kombucha flavored like the tea used to brew it but this time I'm going to experiment with flavoring my kombucha with fruits and other things for the family to enjoy. As I don't want any extra sugars I'll probably stick with the plain stuff. The others have better functioning pancreas' than I do. The great thing about the kombucha Scoby is it is self replicating so it will last for years if you take good care of it.
The other thing in jars I have is Kefir. Kefir is another probiotic food that is gaining in popularity in mainstream America. My 16 yr old likes the stuff we can get at Whole Foods. It is a tart, fermented milk product like a runny yogurt that can be flavored, made into a cheese, added to smoothies or just drunk plain. Kefir is fermented by these little blobbies called kefir grains. They get added to milk and let to sit at room temp for 24 hours and Bam, you have a mild Kefir drink. If these ferments interest you, check out some of the many video's on Youtube about both the Kefir and Kombucha. There are lots out there. I don't have a favorite one to recommend, I just see that the process is about the same for all the vid's and both products are very easy to maintain and cost effective and yummy!