Nourishing Herbal Infusions

I crave my daily herbal infusion. I know my husband does, too. Considering they are vitamin, mineral, and protein powerhouses it’s no wonder! The Mister loves his daily infusions as does our youngest daughter. She’s been drinking them for many years, too. They’re not just for women. They’re for babies, toddler, youths, adults. In other words, EVERYONE. They are food. This is not tea.

What is an infusion? How is it different from a cup of tea?

An infusion is a very strong liquid, tea-like, made with one ounce of herb and allowed to sit in hot water for 4 hours or more. A tea is made from a small amount of herbs or tea leaves, typically 1-3 teaspoons, and steeped in hot water for up to 10 minutes. A tea does not impart the amount of health-giving properties of an infusion, although a cuppa tea can be very enjoyable. I drink a few cups of strong Irish tea every day!

These are the 5 main herbs I make infusions from: organic Red Clover blossoms, organic Nettle, organic Oatstraw, organic Linden, and organic Comfrey leaf. Behind the front row is Hawthorn leaf and flower, Holy Basil, Raspberry Leaf, Uva Ursi, and Yarrow.

Red clover is hands down my absolute favorite infusion. I’m 52 and haven’t experienced one hot flash, I have strong bones, a flexible spine, and supple skin. Yes, you read that right. Not one hot flash. I thought I was having one a couple weeks ago but my husband reminded me I had a been out in the sun all day and it was 90 degrees out. So no hot flash! Red clover helps our bodies balance out hormones (for men, too) and provides minerals, vitamins, and protective phytosterols.

We all want good health. We all want to age gracefully. I know I want to ease into my second half of life with as much of health and vitality as I can build. I credit my easy transition to crone status with nourishing herbal infusions, eating a varied diet that includes local, pasture raised meats, lots of natural fats (butter, lard, olive oil) and full fat organic dairy foods.

If you only do one thing for yourself this month, this year, or today, add nourishing herbal infusions to your diet. Why drink plain water when you can replace it with a nourishing herbal infusion? Plain water offers you nothing nutritionally and flushes minerals and vitamins from your body if you drink too much. Hydrate and add those proteins, minerals, and vitamins back with a nourishing herbal infusion.

Where do I get my herbs for infusions?

Frontier and Mountain Rose Herbs sells organic herbs by the pound as well as most small health food stores. If you become a member of United Plant Savers you will receive a membership perk of a 20% discount to Mountain Rose Herbs! I am also a wholesale member of Frontier. If you’re interested in a wholesale account, click here.

All you need are giant Mason jars (I use half gallon sizes) to store the herbs in your cabinets, an inexpensive food scale, a quart jar with tight-fitting lid, and 5 minutes of time to boil water and weigh out the herb. I make infusions for us in the evening, let them sit overnight, strain them in the morning, and then we drink them during the day.

We rotate through 5-7 different herbs over the course of the week, drinking one infusion a day. We do not mix them together. Our favorites are Nettle, Oatstraw, Comfrey, Red Clover, Linden, and sometimes Hawthorn and Raspberry leaf infusions. When our Lab had a uti I made her rotating infusions of Uva Ursi and Yarrow to help her fight it off. Nettle isn’t my favorite infusion but I know it’s incredibly nutritious so instead of leaving it out of the rotation I’ll add a pinch of Holy Basil to change the taste to my liking. Also, I noticed that if my infusions are very cold they taste so much better.

Take care of your body now. It’s never too late to build health. Infusions are easy to make. Below are pics of my 5 minute routine. I prefer to make them at night so they can steep and be ready to strain and refrigerate in the morning. Infusions only need 4 hours to steep so if it’s easier for you to do it in the morning, go for it! Note: This is NOT a tea.

How do I make a nourishing herbal infusion?

Step 1. Put kettle on the fire.
Step 2. Gather your herb, scale, jar, and funnel. Always use a scale. One ounce of nettle looks very different than one ounce of comfrey!
Step 3. Tare the scale to 0.00 oz. and weigh out one ounce of herb.
Step 4. Fill jar to the near top with boiling water and using a wooden spoon stir the herb and water. Wait a few seconds to let the herb absorb some water then top it off. Screw the lid on (don’t do it too tight) and let it sit for 4 hours or overnight.
Step 5. Strain and compost the plant material if you can. At this point you can refrigerate or drink directly. I prefer them COLD.
Enjoy!

Read more about Nourishing Herbal Infusions from Susun Weed here.

Tomato Herb Salad

The taste of summer! Fresh tomatoes and herbs from my garden.

Ingredients:
4 cups or more chopped tomatoes: heirloom, cocktail, vine , yellow cherries, etc.
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 large handful of mixed herbs, minced
3T sherry vinegar
3T EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1C chopped, fresh mozzarella

 

Directions:

Gently toss all ingredients in a beautiful bowl and serve. Easy.

 

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Fresh Herb Potato Salad

Reposted from a previous post on my old blog.

My husband has been working on the back deck for hours; repairing rotted floor boards and railings. It’s turned into a bigger job than expected, and Todd has been working all afternoon. In honor of his hard work, and all the dinners we will celebrate on the deck together, I made this potato salad to accompany a grilled honey-mustard salmon filet. You could say I was inspired … or you could say that I was avoiding helping with the deck repairs by tending the garden and cooking. Either way, I’m kicking off our summer deck dinners with this potato salad. I’ve been making many variations of potato salad for years. Sometimes I toss red bliss potatoes in a simple champagne vinaigrette with fresh herbs from my garden. Other times I use mayonnaise with Yukon golds and add cucumbers and radishes.

Of all the potato salad recipes I’ve created over the years, this recipe is definitely the best. The smooth Dijon mustard add just enough bite and tang, and the Maille Whole Grain Dijon Mustard, Old Style is a must.

potatosalad

Makes enough for 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2# small, red bliss potatoes
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1C minced, loosely packed fresh herbs (dill, Italian flat-leaf parlsey, tarragon)
  • 1¼C Kraft Mayo with Olive oil (or Hain’s Safflower Mayo)
  • 3T Dijon mustard
  • 3T Maille Whole Grain Dijon Mustard, Old Style

DirectionsBoil the whole, red potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, leave the potatoes in the pot, and cover them with a dish towel for 25 minutes. The potatoes will continue to steam and finish cooking.

In a large bowl, toss in the carrot, red onion, hard-boiled eggs and herbs. Give it a quick stir.

In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, smooth Dijon mustard, and whole grain mustard. Stir to combine. Once the potatoes are cool, add them to the large bowl with the vegetables and herbs. Pour in the mayonnaise dressing and stir until evenly combined.

To serve, place on a bed of lettuce and serve on your deck.

Cheers!

Roast Chicken

Every cook needs to have a roast chicken recipe in their pocket. This one is my go-to recipe I’ve made for years. Serve this roast chicken with steamed asparagus, simple rice pilaf (zest some lemon into it), and sautéed fresh radishes. Do NOT use an expensive champagne to cook with (but it still should be good enough to drink). Save the Veuve Cliquot for toasting!

Champagne-Herb Roast Chicken
Ingredients:

  • 5# whole chicken
  • 1-2C champagne
  • 1 large lemon, halved
  • 3T butter
  • 1T herbes de Provence (mixture of thyme, basil, fennel, marjoram, and lavender)
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • about 2T EVOO for the pan

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°.

In a small pan, melt the butter with the herbes and salt. Do not let it burn and turn into brown butter. Take the melted butter and herbes off the stove and put it aside while you prepare the chicken.

Swirl the EVOO on the bottom of the roasting pan; you should have a nice coating for the chicken to rest on. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up. Stuff the two lemons into the cavity. If the lemons are small you can add another half. Pour the champagne over the chicken. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter and herbes de Provence all over the chicken.

Put the chicken on the highest possible rack because it’s the hottest place and it will foster the formation of that crispy, golden skin. Roast the chicken at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes – long enough for a nice golden skin to become apparent. Note: I use the convection fan to help me with this. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 degrees and continue roasting the chicken, basting occasionally, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. A chicken takes approximately 20 minutes a pound. Don’t forget to baste the chicken often; you will be richly rewarded in the form of a deliciously decadent crispy skin. Once the chicken has reached the right temperature, take it out of the oven, marvel at your beautiful chicken, and then let it rest for 10 minutes (tented in foil) while you prepare the side dishes.

Hint: Letting the chicken rest will keep all the delicious juices inside the meat rather than spilling out with your first cuts. Good luck, though. I usually have to slice a small piece off to “test” it.