Herb Basics You Can Do at Home

| November/December 2000

Want to give your loved ones a tasty, homemade gift for the holidays? Try making a batch of herbal jelly and packaging it in decorative jars.

Using sweet apples as a base, it’s easy to add a variety of herbs for unique tastes—for example, apple-mint, apple-rosemary, or apple-thyme jelly. For a particularly tasty, unusual treat, try a jelly made with any variety of scented geraniums (such as lemon, cinnamon, or ginger).

To make the jelly, chop six pounds of unpeeled, sweet apples and place them in a pan with fifty scented geranium leaves and one quart of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for forty-five minutes. Ladle onto a piece of muslin or cheesecloth (on top of a bowl) and let strain overnight.

In the morning, measure the strained liquid and add one pound of sugar for each pint of liquid. Simmer the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then boil for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into clean, warm jars. Cover the jars with waxed paper until the jelly is cool, then cap the jars and label.

Making A Mustard Plaster

One of the simplest home treatments for coughs is a mustard plaster. Long used as a folk remedy, mustard plasters are said to help stimulate circulation to the lungs and help expectorate mucus. The plasters have also been used to relieve aches and pains, including the discomfort associated with rheumatism.

To make a mustard plaster, combine one tablespoon of mustard powder with four tablespoons of flour. Add enough water to make a paste. (For sensitive skin, use egg whites in place of the water, just enough to make a paste.)

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