My Herbs Blog
Today- It is summer. One of my favorite times of year. Honestly I can get excited about every season. I do love the summer months when plants are a bloom. Each day is filled with the occupation of collecting herbs, and drying them, making preparations to last the winter. Today was strange. Hot, with on an off showers, followed by a strong storm with hail. The sun peaked out of the clouds for a brief moment, and then it rained and rained some more. We have a creek in the back of our property and one in the front. Both were over flowing, and running like rapids with mini waterfalls. I checked my garden plnts when the rain slowed down to make sure the hail hadn't damaged anything. It hadn't thank God.
The herb I focused on today was Red Clover, Trifolium pratense. It is blooming like crazy all over the place. I am trying to collect as much as possible, but my problem is that I do not have adequate drying and storage for as much as I want to collect. Normally I use big paper bags from the grocery store to dry my herbs. I have not been to the regular store for a while to pack my groceries in paper, so I have had to change my approach to drying. The rain has created a very humid environment, and even with the AC and a dehumidifier, I am having trouble drying the flower blossoms.
Today I tried laying them on a cookie sheet and putting them in the over when the over was warm. I did this for a few hours and my first batch dried very nicely. The color of the clovers were still intact and bright. They broke apart easily when I crumbled them in my hand, and I felt that the moisture had left. I tried drying a second batch after dinner, and I thought I had let the oven cool enough before putting another tray in, but I think it was too warm because the clovers lost their color and the leaves took an a slight brown tinge. I am still going to keep this batch for my own personal use. I will not sell those clovers in any of my homemade tea batches, but I hate to throw them away.
I also picked some Wild Calendula, Calendula arvensis, two days ago. The flowers were oh so pretty and bright. Not sure if this is worth collecting, because it takes so many petals to amount to anything. They shrivel up to small little things when dried. In fact I dried them very quickly but just setting them in a dish with a paper towel on my stove after it had been used. It took all day, but it was still rather quick. I have a very small handful of dried petals, when I started out with two big handfuls fresh. I will look to gather some more and maybe make a small batch of calendula oil for myself. I would like to have extra for other people, but may not have enough flowers from my own gathering.
Tomorrow I hope to go to a neighbor's field and gather more Red Clover. Got to come up with a storage option! I love Red Clover, and find it one of the most useful herbs to have on hand. It has blood cleansing properties and I would trust it to keep my healthy and well in the winter months. I also know it to be a anti-cancer herb, meaning it should clean up cancer cells in the body. I drink as a preventative and always want this herb on hand. There is much written about the isoflavones in red clover and the hormonal, phytoestrogen/ estrogen effects of this plant. I do not have a particular experience or story to relate to this benefit from the herb, but may want to pay closer attention. It has been known to limit symptoms of PMS, and I do feel like that has to be tied to it's cleansing abilities.
Will write more later. Good night for now.
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