Saturday Green Market 12/10/16 2-5p @ Jarboe Park

We will be at the Farmer’s Market today with fresh Roselle Hibiscus and cilantro from the garden, and new herbal products! Come by and get some warm Inner Peace tea and some of your holiday shopping done. Also, FREE SAMPLES of Elderberry Syrup and Fire Cider Tonic!

Candied Roselle Hibiscus

For the last month or so, my Roselle Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) has been producing bountiful amounts of its beautiful and unique fruits. So many, that I have been selling them at market and looking for new and innovative ways to use them. After a bit of searching I ran across candied Roselle Hibiscus. I even found them used in mimosas as whole candied fruits. I was intrigued.

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Roselle Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) fruits.

Roselle Hibiscus is full of antioxidants and Vitamin C, thus many find it to be helpful in cases of mild colds and flus. It is also a tart and colorful addition to teas. Many people know it as the “zing” in Celestial Seasoning’s Red Zinger tea.

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Freshly harvested rosella.

I normally stick to using Roselle Hibiscus in teas, and often just pull the “petals” from the fruit and dry them for winter use, when Vitamin C is in high demand. But after a few internet searches and foreign videos I happened upon this post at Renee’s Garden Seeds that has a wealth of information on growing Roselle Hibiscus and a few different recipes, including the inspiration for the recipe that follows.

Because I have candied fruit in the past, mostly citrus peels, I first began the process in much the same way as I would for that. However, my results were very pale and any of the small, tender rosella turned to mush. I then tried to thicken the syrup by cooking it down and bringing it to a high boil. This produced much brighter, but very sticky and flattened rosella. All of the above results were however delicious. But what I wanted was a rosella that held a bit of its shape, so that I can place the rosella in the bottom of a champagne flute for mimosas and be able to eat it in the end should I chose.

Therefore, I ended up making a much thicker syrup, although not as thick as the one suggested on Renee’s Garden Seeds, and left the rosella in the warm syrup for about 5 hours. I then put them on drying racks over night. As of right now they are not dry, but they are sweet and have a shape worthy of a champagne flute.

How to Candy Roselle Hibiscus:

Step 1: Wash the Rosella

I did this by submerging them in water and then straining, because much of the debris is inside the calyx like structure not on the outside more debris is removed this way.

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Washed Rosella

Step 2: Remove the Seed Pod from the Rosella

Take a sharp knife and cut about an eighth or quarter of an inch off the bottom of the rosella. You want to leave all the pretty points, but you want to cut a bit into the seed pod so that it is no longer attached to the rosella and will pop out easily.

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Do this to all the rosella, and then either with your finger or with a tool pop the seed pods out. I used the rounded metal end of my butter knife, which fit perfectly.

You will then end up with a big bowl of prepared rosella. You can keep the seed pods and lay them out flat to dry and as the pod dries it will begin to open and you can replant the seeds to grow your own rosella. You can also use the pods in jams  as they are full of natural pectin.

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Step 3: Get your ingredients together

Get your prepared rosella (I had about 12 ounces), your sugar and water ready. You will need a large pot with a lid. The pot should be at least 3x as deep as your liquid because boiling sugar can very easily boil over and cause very bad burns and terrible messes. You will also need a rubber spatula to stir your mix. A cookie sheet with parchment liner and metal cooling racks to place the candied rosella on will also be necessary. You may want to make space in the fridge to dry them over night as well.

Step 4: Make your sugar syrup

Once you have all your equipment and ingredients together. You will place the sugar and water in the pot and bring to a boil. I brought the sugar water to a boil on high and then turned it down a notch or two to keep it boiling but not popping.

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Because I was experimenting as I went you will notice my sugar water in its boiling state is already red, because I had already tried cooking the rosella as I would normally candy fruit. They were delicious, very apple like, but not the look I was hoping for.

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You want to get the sugar water to a syrupy consistency. It will stick to the spatula but it will still slowly, slower than honey, drip down off of the spatula with gravity.

Step 5: Add your Roselle Hibiscus to your syrup

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Add your cleaned, prepared rosella to the boiling hot sugar syrup. Stir gently to get all rosella fully coated. Push the rosella down until they stay completely covered. I put the cover back on my pot and allowed the rosella to sit for 5 hours. You could leave it over night as well, but I wanted to dry over night in the fridge.

Step 6: Dry Rosella Over Night

Gently remove your rosella from the syrup and place upright on the cooling rack and let drain and dry over night in the refrigerator. fullsizerender-17

As of this posting my rosella have not dried. I will post again on how to make mimosas with them and how to keep them once they dry properly.

I do want to note that the hibiscus syrup is also very useful. I have put mine in the fridge for the night, but I do believe that I am going to make a few different batches with some other flavors. One I definitely want to make is ginger and hibiscus syrup. I think I may need to water down the syrups a bit. I will write about that soon as well.

You can use the candied hibiscus and the syrup for many things. Ice cream comes to mind, as does coconut tapioca pudding. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I’d love to hear about your successes or failures or any new uses you may have for these delicious and unique fruits.

UPDATE:

I found that after keeping the rosella on the drying rack in my fridge for 24 hours they were still very sticky. I decided to put the parchment lined baking sheet with rack in the oven with the rosella on it standing up right. I put the oven on 175°F and let them dry for an hour or until all stickiness was gone. I put them in an airtight container and put in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you could coat them in sugar, but they will still be sticky. I prefer the heated method.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

12 ounces of prepared rosella hibiscus (about 1.5 lbs with seed pods)

6 cups of water

9 cups of organic sugar

(It’s a 1 cup water to 1.5 cup sugar ratio)

Instructions:

Clean rosella. Cut bottoms off and remove seed pods from rosella.

Place sugar and water into large pot. Bring to boil and then reduce to bubbly simmer, but no popping sugar.

Add rosella to sugar syrup. Turn off heat. Gently stir for a few minutes to get all rosella completely coated and until they stay in the liquid without floating above syrup.

Let sit for five hours or over night.

Remove from syrup onto cooling racks over parchment lined cookie sheet, being sure to carefully place each roselle upright. Let dry overnight in the refrigerator. *See UPDATE above about drying.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the syrup as well in the refrigerator. You can water it down for a more simple syrup consistency by heating, then store in refrigerator as well.

 

 

The Manifest Nest at the Beaches Green Market in Neptune Beach

Well today was my first day at the local farmers market, and I have to say it was a fabulous success!

I met so many wonderful new people and was supported by many of my friends and family coming out. Thanks to all of you that came came out with hugs, support, and the desire for herbal products, veggies and seedlings!

I also found out I will be there next week! So come on out and join me if you haven’t gotten the chance or come say hi again.

The market is at Jarboe Park in Neptune Beach on Saturday’s from 2-5pm.

Here are a few pictures from today!

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Lavender and Lemon Balm Lemonade

To Relieve Stress and Anxiety

For a few months now I keep seeing this post for Lavender Lemonade, and while I agree with the premise that Lavender essential oil has many clinically proven medicinal qualities and is excellent for relieving symptoms of headaches and anxiety I can’t help but feel that the actual recipe itself is lacking in applicability and potency.

Also, the image that is shown is of a distinctly purple lemonade. It’s a beautiful shade of purple that if I wasn’t so incredibly low maintenance (aka lazy) I would love to color my hair. However, water, honey, lemons and a drop of lavender essential oil and some sprigs of lavender for garnish will not produce such a lovely purple colored lemonade. Instead, I believe there is a bit of the color that would make it such a lovely hair dye in that pretty picture and therefore, probably not the lemonade that the recipe actually makes.

I also have issue with the recipe recommending ingestion of essential oils without really emphasizing both the issues of quality or the general rule of only ingesting essential oils that are derived from things you would already ingest. I don’t think the recipe is dangerous, as this recipe only calls for 1 drop of lavender essential oil in 12 cups of water, so it is pretty diluted and likely safe, it just overall seems misleading and not very effective. If you would like a good article talking more about the issues of quality in essential oils Here is an excellent one.

But for our purposes I want to give you a recipe for a Lavender Lemonade that is sure to be herbally potent and excellent for relieving headaches, stress and anxiety.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the most potent herbs for its relaxing and calming effects. It is helpful in dispelling depression and calming the nervous system during times of anxiety. It is excellent for headaches, and along with this lovely infused lemonade, putting a drop or two of pure lavender essential oil on your temples will especially help with tension based headaches.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) has been used for hundreds of years, and modern science has shown it to calm the nervous and digestive systems. It is often used to ease depression and grief. It is said to help calm children that have ADD and ADHD. It is also delicious.

This recipe is adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 heaping Tbsp Organic Lavender Flowers
  • 4 heaping Tbsp Organic Lemon Balm Herb
  • 4 Organic Lemons
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups of Raw, Local Honey
  • Water

Boil enough water to make a pot of tea. Add the organic lavender flowers to the pot if you have a built in strainer or put in a muslim bag or piece of cotton or cheese cloth to add to pot. Pour water over lavender in pot, cover and let infuse for at least 20 minutes.

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In the mean time, juice your lemons and strain any seeds and pulp.

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Begin boiling water for your pot of organic lemon balm tea.

Once your lavender tea is infused place it in a container that will not crack. It is still very hot, so you don’t want to add it to your lovely glass pitcher, believe me I learned this the hard way. I put mine in a pot on the stove to cool.

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Rinse out your teapot and repeat the infusion process using your organic lemon balm and tea apparatus of choice. Let the lemon balm herb infuse, covered for at least 20 minutes.

Add your strained lemon juice to the pot with your lavender infusion. You do not want to add your honey yet as it is still quite hot and honey looses many of its medicinal benefits when heated above 105°. My rule is if it is too hot to drink it is too hot for honey.

Add your lemon balm infusion to the pot and set the timer  for a final 20 minutes to cool. After cooled  you can add your honey starting with a half cup and increasing with taste. Add to pitcher and stir well.

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Fill some cups with ice and serve chilled. If you have a few lavender sprigs you can add them, but it is not the season for them here, so I did not.

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This lovely lavender lemonade is a bit reminiscent  of an Arnold Palmer (1/2 iced tea 1/2 lemonade) which is popular here in the south, but with a distinct lavender flavor.  Drink as many glasses as needed to relax, unwind and alleviate pangs of anxiety. I prefer mine on the porch on a beautiful fall day, rocking in my rocking chair or in the garden watching my seedlings grow before my eyes, but in the living room is just fine too. Enjoy!

 

 

Elderberry Syrup

Here at The Manifest Nest Herbal Apothecary we have been hard at work building immune systems and flushing out fevers. As soon as one of our favorite 3 year old princesses came down with a fever we got straight to work making a syrup that is not only extremely effective, but also tasty enough that she was asking for more.

Today we made a brand new batch of Elderberry Syrup chock full of Organic Elder Berries (Sambucus nigra) and Raw, Local, Wildflower Honey.

Elderberries are excellent for immune support. They are full of vitamin C, are anti-viral, and great at combating colds and flus. We have also added Organic Ginger (Zinger officinale) for its warming and decongesting effects, and its ability to aid upper respiratory issues, colds, flus and sore throats. Organic Chamomile (Matricaria chamomile) was added for its ability to relieve aches, pains, headaches, and reduce fevers. Chamomile is also excellent at supporting the nervous system and ensuring a restful sleep. As a strong diaphoretic (sweat inducer) Organic Yarrow Flowers (Achillea millefolium) take the stage for fever reduction. A few whole Cloves (Syzgium aromaticum) were added for their antiseptic and antispasmodic (suppression of muscle spasms) effect. Instead of the sugar often found in traditional syrups, we used Raw, Local, Wildflower Honey for its sweetness as well as its ability to suppress coughs and its antiviral, antibacterial properties.