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What are you harvesting?

June 28 2010 at 10:42 PM
Sarah Head 
from IP address

With all this dry weather, it's been wonderful over the past few weeks to finally harvest herbs whilst they are dry and start to make this year's complement of medicines and fun stuff.

So far I've made:-
Nettle tincture (decanted), nettle vinegar (waiting to be decanted next weekend when I have some time!) and dried some nettles.

Hawthorn flower and leaf tincture (should have picked some blossom to dry for tea, but didn't have time but I shall have a wonderful harvest of haws come September!)

Elderflower water, a citrus and elderflower tincture (I thought I'd make something different!) and the remainder of the harvest is still drying.

Red clover elixir and tincture and the rest is drying for tea

Lemon balm elixir (for restoration following heat stroke as per Sean Donohoe's articlehttp://greenmanramblings.blogspot.com/2010/06/herbal-first-aid-for-heat-exhaustion.html )and 4 lots of lemon balm tincture because I use it in my bereavement and anti-stress mixtures and there's some hanging up to dry for tea.

Yarrow leaf tincture with fresh yarrow almost dry.

I've also picked violet leaves, horsetail, catmint, white horehound, white hyssop, thyme and sage which are drying.

Burdock leaf tincture (haven't dried any leaves yet as I don't use them a lot)

The star of the show at the moment has to be St John's wort. The first two flowers appeared on midsummer's day and I've picked a bowlful of flowers most days since then. A full 2lb jar of oil is infusing on the kitchen window sill, one and a half similar jars of tincture sit in the larder - the first one has already turned an amazing shade of red! - and a small jar of honey is infusing next to the oil.

I can thoroughly recommend a soothing cup of yarrow, plantain, lemon juice and St John's wort honey tea. I made one for myself using leaves growing in between our patio flagstones following a visit to the dentist for a large filling last Friday. As I get older, I find such visits more and more traumatising and normally I am laid out for the rest of the night once the anaesthetic wears off. Maybe it was the skill of my new dentist, but I had absolutely no pain or suffering at all! I think my herbal tea helped too!

So, what are the rest of you out there in the herbal world doing with your herbs at the moment?

(Just as an aside, those of you who don't know me might think I'm a professional herbalist who spends their life with their plants but I'm not. I have a full time job in quite a different field and I literally only have the odd ten minutes or an hour here and there to harvest, process and use!)

Best wishes


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Jane Tapping


July 2 2010, 11:33 AM 

Hello Sarah,

Must admit that I'm not harvesting much in the way of herbs at the moment. All my spare time now is trying to get the soft fruit off and into jars or what ever before the resident tribe of greedy blackbirds desimate the whole crop. They have already had all the red currants (a new brush so not a lot yet) What the neighbours make of this mad 'Old Bat' trotting down the garden shouting "Shoo" I dread to think. I intend to make some Blackcurrant Vinegar, found that very beneficial last winter for colds etc. Another success last year was Gooseberry and Mint Jelly. Later when I can cadge some windfall apples, Sage, Apple and Tarragon Jellies and perhaps something with rose hips will be added to the store. If the garlic comes up trumps also some Garlic Vinegar and oil. The garden is still a dreadful wilderness this year as I have been busy with other things, closing down my on-line business for one and also coming to terms with widowhood but hopefully by the autumn I shall be getting straight with the help of family and friends and next year as my old mother used to say 'I shall start to farm!' well garden anyway. Shall really try some of your recommended oils, lotions and potions etc.


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