Monday, April 30, 2012

Magickal Harvest Store

We just opened a Magickal Harvest Store. The Link is above in the tabs. All generated funds go towards Magickal Harvest events. We will be adding more products soon. but this is a good start!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Drinking in the sun

By: Diane FitzpatrickA cup of herbal tea can be invigorating or relaxing, give you energy or calm and soothe. Herbal teas are remedies for many things that ail us. An inexpensive and simple alternative to store-bought herbal tea bags is to make your own homemade herbal tea, using herbs grown in your own backyard.
Teas are fresher and more flavorful when using fresh herbs as opposed to dried herbs in teabags. Because the herbs are not as finely ground, their medicinal and health benefits are greater.
Choosing Herbs for Tea
Many herbs are perfect for tea. The most popular tea herbs are chamomile, rose hips, lavender, mints, sweet fennel, orange thyme, hibiscus, lemon balm, lemon verbena, linden flowers, dandelion, St. John's wort, licorice root, ginger root, lavender, raspberry leaf and goldenrod violets.
Try mixing your favorite herbs for an herb tea blend.
Some plants should never be ingested. Know what you're growing if you're making tea from your own plants. Never make tea from herbs such as borage, calamus, chaparral, comfrey, ephedra, germander, life root, pennyroyal or sassafras. In certain strengths those herbs can cause liver damage and other organ risks.
Be extremely careful that you don't make tea using any herb plants that have been sprayed with pesticides.
How to Make Homemade Tea
If you plan to regularly make tea with an herb that you're growing, have two plants going at the same time-one to continue growing while you clip from the other plant. Removing too many leaves at once from an herb plant may kill it.
To make herbal tea, simply tear or bruise the leaves (or cut the blossoms, flowers or pods) and mix with boiling water in a ceramic, enamel or stainless-steel teapot. Allow to steep for three to five minutes or until the desired strength is reached. Strain the tea through a strainer and add honey or sugar for added sweetener.
Mint Tea. Mint tea is a favorite among tea drinkers because mint is easy to grow and, when made into tea, is fresh, light and delicious.
Mint plants are very hardy and will grow profusely if not reigned in. Plant your mint in partial sun and be sure it gets lots of water in the hot summer months.
There are interesting types of mint plants available at nurseries-spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, lemon mint and orange mint-each with its own aroma and flavor.
To make mint tea, use the leaves (no stems) and tear them or bruise them slightly to release the oils. Place the torn leaves into a pot of boiling water and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain and enjoy.

Chamomile Tea. The most relaxing and soothing of all herbal teas, chamomile tea is another easy tea to make at home. Chamomile tea is made from the chamomile plant blossoms-the tiny yellow and white flowers-rather than the leaves.
Chamomile plants like sandy soil, lots of sun and plenty of water during the hot summer months.
To make homemade chamomile tea, chop or tear the chamomile blossoms. Place 1 tablespoon of fresh chamomile blossoms for each individual cup of water into a teapot. Pour in boiling water and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain and enjoy.

Rose Hip Tea. Rose hip tea is known for its rosy pink color, citrus-like flavor and health benefits, mostly from the high amount of vitamin C is contains.
Rose hip tea is made from the hips-the tiny seed pods that form at the base of the blooms of the rose plant.
When making rose hip tea, cut the hips in half to release the contents. Pour boiling water over rose hips and allow to steep; strain into cups.

Ginger Tea. Ginger tea is known for its medicinal qualities. A hot cup of ginger tea can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms.
To make two mugs of ginger tea, combine 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger root with 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and enjoy.

Lemon Balm Tea. Lemon balm is related to the mint family, but has a pleasant lemony flavor. Lemon balm plants grow best in somewhat dry soil and partial shade.
Making lemon balm tea is just like making mint tea. Tear or bruise the lemon balm leaves and pour boiling water over them. Allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes before straining into cups.
Mixing Herbs for Tea
Try mixing together some of your favorite herbs to make tea. Combine 1 teaspoon mint, 1 teaspoon chamomile, 1 teaspoon rose hips and a touch of fresh ginger. Pour boiling water over the mix, steep and strain.
If you enjoy a citrus spiced tea, mix rose petals, orange rind, ginger and lemon balm leaves in amounts to taste.
Storing Herbs for Tea Making
You can harvest your herbs in larger amounts and store them in various forms for future tea making.
To make an herbal concentrate, mash herb leaves, pour boiling water over them and allow them to steep for several days. Pour the concentrate through a strainer and freeze it in ice cube trays. To make tea with an herbal concentrate, place a frozen herbal concentrate cube in a cup and add boiling water. Two cubes makes a stronger cup of tea. These herbal ice cubes also can be added to iced tea and lemonade for an infusion of herbal flavor.
To dry herbs for tea making, cut stalks while they are young and hang them upside down in a cool, dry, dark place. When the herbs get dry, crumble them with your hands and store in airtight bags. To make tea from dried herbs, combine 1 tablespoon of dried herbs with a cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
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Infused Vodka
  • 750ml bottle of premium vodka
  • 1-3 sprig of herb of choice
  • infusion jar with tight sealing lid
  1. Rinse the herbs and place them a clean mason jar or similar jar with a tight sealing lid.
  2. Pour the vodka over the herbs and shake a few times.
  3. Seal the lid tight and store the jar in a cool, dark place for 3-5 days.
  4. Test the flavor of the infusion everyday, beginning on the second day.
  5. Once the flavor is to taste, strain the herbs from the vodka using a fine strainer or coffee filter.
  6. Wash the jar and return the flavored vodka to it.
  7. Store as you do other vodka.

  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 ounce fresh herbs, such as basil, lemon verbena, mint, tarragon, or thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice, for serving
  • Sparkling water or club soda, for serving

  1. Put sugar and 1 cup water into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; add herbs. Cover; let cool completely.
  2. Pour syrup through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard herbs. Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Fill glasses with ice. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons syrup; top with sparkling water or club soda, and stir.

Sample Herbal Tea Garden

So... i hope that you where able to catch yesterday's show...Drinking in the sun! If not you can always listen to the show from the player to the side.

We talked about growing your own herbs for teas.
Here is a Sample of an Herbal tea garden

An Herbal Tea Garden
Written by Ruth Rogers Clausen
Key to Plan

1. Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) 12 plants, planted 8 inches apart; 8 to 10 inches tall; 3-parted fan-shaped leaves; small white flowers followed by pea-sized seedy fruits. The leaves make a fruity tea; can be combined with sweet woodruff. Zones 4 to 8.
2. Variegated common thyme (Thymus vulgaris 'Silver Queen') 5 plants planted 18 inches apart; 6 to 10 inches tall; tiny leaves edged with silver; pale mauve flowers. Brew the leaves for a spicy, pungent tea. Zones 5 to 8.
3. Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) 8 plants planted 12 inches apart; 6 to 12 inches tall; starry whorls of foliage; in May topped with clusters of tiny white flowers. Its dried leaves make a mild, woodsy tea; excellent combined with strawberry leaves. Zones 3 to 9.
4. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) 8 plants planted 12 inches apart; 12 to 24 inches tall; fine, ferny foliage. White daisy flowerheads are used for a mild, relaxing, applelike tea. Zones 4 to 8.
5. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis 'Aurea') 1 plant; 12 to 24 inches tall; hardy perennial with yellow-variegated, mintlike foliage; prune regularly. Lemon-scented leaves make a refreshing hot or iced tea. Zones 4 to 9.
6. Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata') 1 plant, 12 to 24 inches tall; wrinkled, woolly leaves rimmed in cream. Not as robust as some other mints. Fragrant pineapple tea is delicious hot or cold. Zones 7 to 9.
7. Curly spearmint (Mentha spicata 'Crispa') 1 plant; 12 to 24 inches tall; bright green foliage with crinkled edges. The leaves make a pungent, minty tea often used to aid digestion. Zones 4 to 9.
8. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) 1 plant; 2 feet tall; square stems clothed with opposite, toothed, lance-shaped leaves; clusters of mauve flowers along the stem. Brew leaves to make a refreshing tea that's soothing to the digestive system. Zones 4 to 9.
9. Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) 1 plant; 36 inches tall; pineapple-scented bright green foliage; loose spikes of two-lipped scarlet flowers in fall. Leaves make a pineapple/melon-flavored tea. Zones 8 to 10.
10. Purple basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Purple Ruffles') 1 plant; 18 to 24 inches tall; purple-black leaves; clusters of pink flowers in a loose spike. Keep pinched for bushiness. Leaves and flowers make an attractive pinkish tea with mild peppery clove overtones. Annual.
11. Creeping rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus') 1 plant; 6 to 12 inches tall, trailing; gray-green needlelike leaves and pale blue flowers. Use either flowers or leaves to make a piney tea. Zones 8 to 10.
12. Chocolate mint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum 'Chocolate Mint') 1 plant; 12 inches tall; velvety gray-green leaves marked with chocolate; small white flowers. A minty tea is made from the foliage. Zones 10 to 11.
13. Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) 2 plants planted singly; 18 inches tall; clammy foliage topped by bright orange daisies. Petals or whole flowers make a slightly bitter tea. Annual.
14. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 1 plant; 12 to 24 inches tall; aromatic gray-green leaves topped with long-stemmed spikes of purple flowers. Flowers make a delicious pale green tea with mild floral overtones. Zones 5 to 8.
15. Golden lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus 'Aurea') 1 plant; trailing, 6 to 8 inches tall; pungent, small, gold-rimmed leaves and tiny pinkish flowers. Leaves make a spicy tea.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dole 'Seven Lettuces' bagged salad recalled by company
Cases of bagged salad distributed by Dole Fresh Vegetables have been recalled because a New York state test of some of the salad found salmonella contamination, the company has announced.

Dole Seven Lettuces salad with an April 11, 2012, expiration date, UPC code 71430 01057 and Product Codes 0577N089112A and 0577N089112B is being recalled. In all, 756 cases distributed in 15 states, including Illinois, are being recalled, according to a release from the company.

Dole 'Seven Lettuces' bagged salad recalled by company

So how does Lettuce become infected with salmonella anyway?

Here is a an article that talks about how lettuce  can become contaminated.
Lettuce Roots Lure Salmonella
" Salmonella, a bacteria that causes tens of thousands of cases of food borne illness each year, may be especially attracted to lettuce by the prospect of something sweet. The bug is apparently enticed by a sugar-like substance lying in the leafy green's roots, say a team of Dutch scientists." 

Now with this information provided her are some of my thoughts... 
1. Why are you buying lettuce? If you listen to Magickal Harvest then you have heard my ravings about how Easy and cheap it is to grow your own lettuce.  You can grow it in a sunny window or in a container. If you only have a few feet of wall you can even grow lettuce in a mounted piece of rain gutter.  For under 2.00 you can get organic and/or heirloom lettuce seeds. You can harvest just a few young leaves each time you want a salad allowing you to enjoy them all year long.  
2. Have you ever eaten Fresh Lettuce?  In my opinion they taste sweeter and have a better flavor.
3. Do you know how and who has handled your Lettuce? Well.. growing your own you are in control. You know if it was planted in good soil. You know if it was treated with fertilizers/pesticides. You Know that you picked it. You know how it was washed. You are in control! 

There is one kitchen tool that I feel that you should not be without if you grow your own lettuces. And that is a Salad Spinner. If you eat a lot of home grown greens this is a must. (Ok Not really but it does make life easy) 

KitchenAid KG308ER Salad Fruit Spinner - RedKitchen Aid Salad Spinner  I Got mine at Costco for $18.99 . It is  one of the better ones I have used. I Also have used it for spinning  excess water off rotini noodles for pasta salad.  Then used it as a salad Bowl.
The other way I used to remove excess is to wash and place in strainer then wrap in paper towels, place in bag and spin it.

Well that is all I have for now...  VIVA LA LETTUCE...   Have a great day and remember I have the Right to eat fresh food and I have the Power to grow it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Container Gardening Workshop

I want to issue a challenge to you! We are getting ready for our container gardening workshop to benefit a member of our community and to teach you how to garden in containers. We have been unable to raise the necessary funds to carry out our original plans, so...the challenge, should you choose to accept it, is this: bring two containers (one for you and one for our beneficiary) and any plants you wish to pot up to the event and we will waive the $5 cost!

We have 21 people reserved for this event already, and space is tight, so Reserve s'il vous plaƮt and merci!

From Dawn's Kitchen, With Love!

Dawn here: First, I must share that as a kitchen witch, I love to experiment with recipes, altering the ingredients (either by choice or happenstance) and perfecting that just so taste. Many of my measurements are "eyeball" measures, and I like to mix flavors that enhance each other.

I found a common recipe for basic pesto on the internet and realized I didn't have the requisite basil (not enough leaves on my plants, yet) and I also had just used all my pine nuts in a different meal earlier in the week. So, I did what any good kitchen witch does and used the resources I had on hand. With the dandelions taking over my back yard, I went outside with my kitchen shears and harvested a good handful. A quick perusal of the herb pantry revealed I had plenty of pecans, too. I must say the result was, *divine!*

Dawn's Dandelion Pesto
1 c pecans
6 cloves garlic
3 cups whole, organic dandelion greens (sorted, washed)
olive oil (about 2 cups, more or less to preference)
1 c Parmesan cheese

Add first three ingredients to food processer or blender. drizzle olive oil in mixture as you blend the ingredients together. Continue drizzling olive oil until a nice paste consistency. Add 1/2 c parmesan and drizzle more oil while blending ingredients in your processer. Watch the consistency, you want a nice paste mix...add rest of cheese and continue drizzling the oil while you blend the mixture up.

You now have a lovely pesto mix to use in your pizza, pasta or bread dip recipes! 

    • All jarred up and ready to use for pizza, pasta or dip!
      Post Script: I have noticed the effects of the dandelion after eating this pesto--I feel like a million bucks, with extra energy and, yes, like I am detoxifying my system! It is an extraordinary addition to your diet, especially on those days after you've indulged a little too heavily in junk food or one too many midnight margaritas the night before!


      Power of Three P Salad 
      1.5 c Dawn's Dandelion Pesto Sauce
      2 c cooked pasta (bowtie or shells work best)
      1 c spring peas
      1/2 onion, chopped
      1 lb chicken, cut into bite size chunks
      olive oil

      In large sauce pan, heat olive oil and tenderize onion. Add chicken and brown. Remove from heat and placed cooked chicken and onions in a large bowl. Add pesto sauce, peas and pasta and mix thoroughly. 

      Buon Appetito!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Yippy It is Spring....

Welcome to the Magickal Harvest Blog. We are excited that you took a few minutes to stop buy and say Hello! 
If you didn't get a chance to listen to today's Episode of Magickal Harvest Radio.  You can listen live via the player.. 
 over there ------------------------------------->

Today we talked about The Marvelous Dandelion.
 (These thoughts are written by Jen so you don't have to wonder who is typing this post)
The Dandelion is often considered to an uncontrollable weed,that mars the perfection of the vast waste of space..the lawn. (This is just one of my many issues)  
Herbalists see this herb as a great source of food as well as medicine.  The dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. 
Curious about how these Magickal little weeds can help you medically. Take a Look at   Dandelion Article from the University of Maryland Medical Center

Dandelion leaves are used teas, salads and and many recipes that showcase greens. 
The Root can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.   I Recently have been become addicted to combining roasted dandelion root,chicory and coffee.. all I can say it is magickal!  The flowers are used to make wine (Which i am cooling right now so i can add the yeast.. cant wait) and a couple days ago fritters! YUM!  
This Poor misunderstood herb  not only gives once.. but it on keeps giving. 

So Today I went out and harvest some dandelion flowers.. along with a couple honey bee. I Collected enough to make 2 gal of Dandelion wine. (Dawn if you get some flowers I can add them to what is started already... I have room to do 6 gal in my vat)
Here is the recipe I used 
( I wish I could remember where I found it.. If this belongs to any of my readers let me know so I can give you credit)
  • 1 package dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 quarts dandelion blossoms
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped lemon peel
  • 6 cups sugar
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set aside.

Wash the dandelion blossoms well. Put them in the water with the orange, lemon and lime juices. Add the cloves, ginger, orange and lemon peel, and sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for an hour. Strain through filter paper (coffee filters work great). Cool. While still warm (but not hot), stir in the yeast.

Let stand overnight and pour into bottles Allow uncorked bottles to set in a darkened place for three weeks. Then cork and store bottles in a cool place.

Makes about 4 quarts.

(I have a Wine/beer making bucket that I will allow to ferment in, I will rack it in 1 week, allow to 3 weeks, then bottle )

As we mentioned in the show both Dawn and I are use what you have in the kitchen Kind of Cooks.
So here is What I used to make the Dandelion Fritters..

Pick and Clean Dandelion Flowers. Removing the Stem
In Bowl Mix
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 egg
  • a dash of milk to thin it to a thick pancake batter
  • Add seasonings of your choice.
In a pan place some butter and pan fry the Fritters.. sprinkle with a little salt when done. That is it I dipped mine in a little blue cheese dressing. YUM!

Dandelion Greens & Smashed Potatoes

I am not recipe writer so here is the easiest way of describing how this awesomeness in a bowl comes together

First I took about 1.5 -2 lb of potatoes, chopped them, put in pan. added water and salt and cooked till soft.

While the potatoes are cooking.. I placed 2 thick pieces of bacon in a skillet and browned. Removed bacon and added a clove a garlic and chopped green onions to the pan. cooked a few min added a bunch of Clean chopped dandelion greens. allow to wilt.

When Potatoes are done. Drain and Smash, Add in butter and milk or broth. mixed in the chopped bacon and Greens..  then stab people in hands with forks when they try to steal some.

Well I am sure Dawn will have more to say... But I'm gonna play outside. Have fun and remember.. " I have have the right to fresh food and I have the Power to Grow it!"

The Magickal Harvest Disclaimer: All information and material contained within on our site is strictly for informational and educational purposes only.Please consult your physician or other qualified health professional before taking any herbal supplements or natural medicines of any kind.