Saturday, November 07, 2009

fruit, herbs, and alcohol

Today we had a class on making tinctures. It was a lot of fun, and since we're just starting out with the classes, they are small. A benefit of small classes is taking home some great stuff. Last week we poured beautiful lavender oatmeal soap into lined 3" x 5" wooden berry boxes. I cut mine and it turned into 4 great bars of soap - although there is a bit of an ash layer on top because it wasn't insulated.
This week we talked about different methods and different herbs, how to use tinctures, and then everyone made a pint jar to take home. I thought we'd all make elderberry, but as it turned out we also had someone who chose to pick vitex berries off the bush out back, another chose holy basil, Maryanne wanted the echinacea I'd dug and cleaned prior to class (that jar is beside the soap, above), while I used some ephedra. It was a lot of fun! With a bigger class we wouldn't have been able to be as flexible in either of the classes.
During the course of today's class, we were talking about using the herbs that grow near you, and I lugged out the jar of sour cherries I've been macerating since June. That will eventually become a cordial, and sniffing today (deLIGHTful!) we decided that they need a vanilla bean to swim around with them. To make the liquid into cordial, it will require the addition of a simple syrup, maple syrup, or honey. We are still fantisizing about what will happen to the actual drunken fruit.
After class I spied some pomegranates and the price is starting to come down on them. In fact, they were on special. So I snagged a couple of them for the same eventual purpose.
After cutting open the pomegranates, the beautiful jewel-toned seeds (what do you call them? The seeds are encased in the small juicy corn-shaped thing-a-ma-jigs) are separated from the pulp and placed into a large mason jar.
I muddled them pretty well to get the juice running.
Finally a few cardamom seeds and a healthy slice of ginger went in before it was covered to the top of the jar with vodka. Then I carefully labelled it and spelled it incorrectly.
In a couple of months we'll have a sniff and see what else it needs!
It seems like it could be great fun to follow along in the seasons and make up cordials to go along. Persimmon? eh.... I don't know about that one, but it might be worth a try with nutmeg and cinnamon!


Comfrey Cottages said...

what fun! what alot of great ideas:) thanks for sharing tina

Unknown said...

I love all your photos with your entries. I enjoy all your postings - I need to renew my subscription!

Athena's Armoury said...

Wow, the pomegranate cordial sounds amazing! Sounds like it was a really fun class, too. =)

Bridgett said...

How fun! I wish I could take the classes you're taking.

I'd love to learn to make soap and proper tinctures.


Marnie said...

Your classes look so inviting that I looked up just how long of a drive would it be...sadly, it was a 10 hour drive. :( One of these days...

Tina Sams said...

this is a great area for a vacation, maybe sometime you'll be in our neck of the woods? Or just maybe we'll be in yours!

Aquarian Bath said...


Patricia said...

definitely sounds like you had a great time. Those cordials sound like a lot of fun, both making them and sipping them! I've never tried that, those pomegranates look tempting. May give that a whirl!
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings