Herb Basics

A Place to Start

| January/February 2006


Placing a vanilla bean into a pint jar of sugar transforms plain sugar into a pleasing, fragrant addition to cakes, cookies, custards, whipping cream and all sorts of sweets. If you do a lot of baking, you can make this recipe in larger quantities — a quart or half-gallon jar — and use it often.

About 2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut into 4 pieces

Fill a pint jar about one-third full of sugar. Place 2 pieces of vanilla bean in the sugar. Cover vanilla bean with sugar until the jar is two-thirds full; add remaining vanilla pieces and cover with sugar, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace in the jar. Seal with lid, shake the jar, and place it on a shelf in a cool, dark place. The sugar will be ready to use in about three weeks and will become more flavorful with age.


The following herbs and supplements can help maintain the health and vitality of various parts of the body. Use these herbs on a regular basis for the best effect.

Source: Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Books, 2001.


When mushrooms are in season, flavorful wild varieties bursting with health benefits can be found at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. For year-round wild mushroom enjoyment, most varieties (such as shiitake, porcini, chanterelle and morel) are available dried.

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