Newsletter 2010 Spring
WHAT IS THE SECRET TO CRISPY CRUNCHY HOMEMADE PICKLES?
The secret is in the water. All water has total dissolved solids (TDS) which is not a bad things except for pickles. TDS may include calcium, magnesium, iron etc and is in water in varying amounts depending on its source. The more TDS the softer the pickle. We use bottled water that you can buy off the shelf in the grocery store and Jeff's refrigerator pickles are devine!
How to brew a great cup of Green Tea, and Herb Teas TOO!
We grow live herb plants, prepare teas, and mix soothing herbal bath salts
as part of our Always Summer Herbs mission
to stimulate the palette, and
soothe the soul.
Tea has been enjoyed for centuries the world over, and
now it is time for you to experience tea at its best.
A word about tea pots
It is best to have a teapot such that the tea can be placed in loose. This allows the tea to fully expand and the water to move freely over the leaves. We do not recommend the cute but smallish ‘tea balls’. Tea infusers or ‘teaballs’ tend to keep the tea in a tight ball and not allow the entire flavor to develop or steep into the tea. You can use them if in a pinch, but really consider tea pot. A teapot with a strainer incorporated in the pour spout such an English “Brown Betty” or the Japanese Bee House teapot is the best. These teapots have a very large tea basket that fits inside the top of the pot. Tea baskets and tea strainers are acceptable because they contain the tea leaves, but do not interfere with the water freely moving around the leaves during the steeping process. A few tea leaves in the bottom of your cup, however, is nothing to be afraid of - it is the way tea has been drunk for years. You just don’t slug down the last drop! And besides, how will anyone be able to “read your tea leaves” unless there are a few little flakes at the bottom of the cup!
Types of tea and their brewing methods
The best form for tea is loose, not in tea bags. Loose tea tends to be higher quality and usually contains the full leaf, as opposed to ground tea which is found in tea bags. Different types of tea need different methods of brewing. Generally speaking - the darker the tea, the hotter the water and the longer the brew time.
White Tea - is the mildest tea; it is picked from the innermost tips of the tea plant while the leaves are small and immature and then dried quickly, and packaged. White tea contains practically no caffeine, and is very mild with a floral overtone and a pale yellow color.
White tea is brewed using hot water between 160-175oF, NOT BOILING.. To gauge the right temperature without having to use a thermometer, pour the hot water into the teapot when the teakettle starts to rumble and steam just starts to wisp out of the spout. Steep time is only 2-3 minutes for the first infusion. After 2 minutes pour all of the tea out of the teapot into your cup leaving the tea leaves in the teapot. When you are ready for another cup of tea add more water to the teapot and double the brew time to 4-5 minutes. You can brew white tea for 4-6 infusions from just one heaping teaspoon of tea!
Dead Sea Bath Salts
After a long day, there is nothing like a soothing soak in a Dead Sea Salt bath. Salts from the Dead Sea are a therapeutic, calming, and healthy bath treatment was once found only in expensive spas and skin clinics. Now it is available to you from us—Always Summer Herbs.
In addition to the amazing Dead Sea Salts, Always Summer Herbs adds all natural aromatherapy essential oils for a whole body soul nurturing experience. We use only natural ingredients, even the slight tint of color is from earth derived minerals (iron oxides). The different essential oils are selected for their stimulating, healing, or calming effects depending what you would like from your bathing experience.
What makes Dead Sea Salt so special is unlike ocean salt which is mostly sodium chloride or table salt, Dead Sea Salts are comprised of 15 different minerals. These minerals are unique to the Dead Sea and not found in high abundance in regular ocean or table salt. We recommend bathing in Dead Sea Salt baths as a way to detoxify, relax and treat skin problems such as Psoriasis and Eczema.
Guide for using Dead Sea Bath Salts
Directions for use as soother and rejuvenator:
To rejuvenate the skin, relieve aches and pains, or relax tired muscles - pour 2 to 8 ounces ( ¼ to 1 cup) of Dead Sea Bath Salts into warm bath water. The salts will dissolve in the swirling water. Soak in the blissful water for 20-30 minutes. Drink plenty of water before and after to help detoxify the body. Wash off skin with fresh water before padding off with a soft towel. Apply moisturizer to maintain to skin’s hydration at this time if you like. Immediately wrap in a robe or a warm towel and rest for 20-30 minutes for a complete skin treatment. But most of all, soothe your soul, and let your cares and worries melt away.
As A Skin Treatment:
Consult with your doctor before using this product if you suffer from any ailment or condition. This is always the safest and most prudent course of action. If you are trying to heal the skin of any problems or detoxify the body, it is best to keep the water temperature lukewarm. Research shows that when the water is only 2o F above the temperature of the body, the minerals will be absorbed into the skin. This has been show to actually change the skin chemistry, which is what you want if treating a skin condition. ( Again, please consult with your doctor before using this product if you suffer from any ailment or condition). If the water is too hot, the skin will eliminate the minerals by sweating as opposed to absorbing the minerals into the body.
Research suggests that for the initial bath therapy - bathe three to four times a week for the first four weeks. Maintain your therapy by bathing one to two time a week for at least 30 minutes per session.
Clinical studies have proven that bathing in Dead Sea Bath Salts provides relief from Psoriasis when used in a recommended regimen. The trial used 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of salt per bath, 3 times a week, for six weeks). We have special packaging and pricing for this large amount of salts. Please contact us directly so we may assist you.
Herbs in Containers
Herb gardening in pots have the advantages of portability, decoration, and convenience. Disadvantages are overgrowth, early flowering, heat build-up, and starvation. Here are a few suggestions for container combinations.
Classic Kitchen Bowl
Parsley- Curled [ Flat is too big ]
Sage- Bergarrten [ or gold, or tri-color ]
[Basil can be too big, and bolt early], think about spicy globe types
Columnar Basil- a Tender perennial with a upright habit, slow to flowe
Genovese- Short lived, and robust.
Rosemary – Tuscan Blue [ or Barberque or any large upright ]
Lavender- Dentata or Provence
Rosemary- Trailing [ Huntington Carpet or Haifa]
Potpourri- in Strawberry Jar
Top- Hyssop, Honeydew Sage, Scented Geraniums
Upper Sides- Bush Basil, Italian Oregano, Rosemary –trailing, Chamomile
Lower sides- Gold tipped Marjoram, Thymes, Oregano -compact, Pennyroyal, Strawberry, Mints
Don’t forget to fertilize, at least every week, and/or use Osmacote type fertilizer. Don’t be afraid to chop it back, and use them.
Crafter's Herb Garden
I know you have seen the beautiful wreaths and other arrangements made with dried herb and flowers. Our friend, Maureen has an exceptional talent for creating these wonders and has offered these tips to the types of herbs and flowers that dried the best and last the longest. You can start these plants in the garden in the spring and cut and dry all year. The fall seems to be the best time of year to put these arrangements together; just in time for holiday gifts.
The basis of the herb crafter’s garden is silver king artemesia. The perennial is easy to grow and you will need to plant it in the back garden because it spreads. Sweet Annie is another important plant. This is an annual that self-seeds and is usually ready for use the second week in September. Don’t cut it all so that it can reseed for next year. It is easy to grow and aromatic.
Lavender is a must have. Provence is a type of lavender with purple flowers and is long stemmed and aromatic. It is also great in cookie recipes. Munstead has bright blue flowers and shorter stems. Other plants for herb crafts include: cock’s comb, salvia, hydrangea, Chinese lantern, hyssop, chives with flowers, comfrey, scented geranium leaves, oreganio, lamb’s ear, mint, Queen Anne’s lace (dry between paper towels), sage, baby’s breath (gypsophilia), lady’s mantel, basil, larkspur, marigold and calendula.
Once dried, you can make wreaths, swags, dried arrangements, topiaries and garlands. Leaves and flowers can also be pressed and dried to make note cards. More on how to dry these plant in the fall newsletter
Fairy Gardens Are All the Rage
Planting a garden fit for a fairy is a a trend that's growing among gardeners and it's especially appealing to young gardeners. Fairy gardens may be assembled in container gardens or as a special area of your general garden.
A fairy setting to attract the little folk may include ponds, shiny stones, gazing balls and the color green.
Here's a list of the plants and other items you'll need: