Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Extracts

Chocolate Mint and Peach Tea extract
Back in June I posted about my absolute obsession with tincturing and macerating.  My garden was in full thrust and I was still heady from my recent trip to Mandy Aftel's natural perfume workshop in Berkeley.  My mission, originally, was to take advantage of my garden to create some alcohol bases to make perfumes with.  I ventured a little further afield and ended up tincturing dried jasmine blossoms and, most rewardingly, tea.

My biggest success was with an organic loose leaf peach flavored tea.  It's difficult to find a fruity note in natural oils so originally I was simply looking for that.  What I discovered was that the extracted liqueur was so much richer and more complex than I could have imagined.  I dabbed it on my wrists constantly all summer long and inhaled deeply that sweet, smokey aroma reminiscent of hundreds of comforting afternoons with my hands wrapped around a warm cup.

My other big success in extract making was with the chocolate mint taking over my community garden plot.  I knew from infusing it in vodka that the alcohol seemed to really extend the chocolate flavor, much more so than in a cup of herb tissane.  I finely chopped up about a cup of mint and poured enough 190 proof vodka over it to cover and let it sit for a few days.  After straining it I added another cup of chopped herb to make it double strength.

I quite naturally started to think about how to use the extracts in food.  I think their flavors would lend themselves to some delicious desserts, most notably ice cream and sorbets.  I started to experiment with using them in seltzer and, not surprisingly, they were delicious.  Peach tea seltzer has now become a favorite of mine and I can't keep enough extract in the house.  As the bubbly glass approaches your nose you can't help but be overwhelmed by it's gorgeous bouquet.  About a half teaspoon to a teaspoon works nicely in a ten to twelve ounce glass of sparkling water.  I'm spoiled now, I'll never again buy a lemon, lime or (horror of horrors) artificial black cherry flavored seltzer again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My New Krrb

I've been fortunate to have been found by the local networking website,  They were kind enough to set up a nice "store" for me on their website and spotlighted my potions in their blog.  They seem to particularly like my Viper Oil.

In the '20's folks who smoked medicinal herbs (think Louis Armstrong) were called Vipers. There are a slew of songs from that era including a favorite of mine performed nicely by the 4th Street Nite Owls, "If You're a Viper".

The band and I had an idea for a skin formulation, something akin to Snake Oil, for "taking the sting out" that they could sell at shows. Viper Oil was born out of this brainstorm and uses hemp oil as it's main ingredient.

The hemp oil is combined with an olive oil maceration of comfrey, calendula, plantain, yarrow, red clover, thyme and roses (all grown locally in my garden) and fortified with the essential oils of frankincense, lavender, geranium, hemp, carrot seed and rose.

I had a good time doing some research into old time Snake Oil and could only imagine a barker announcing my "miracle cure".  "Takes the sting out of skin afflictions such as insect bites, cuts, minor burns, abrasions & irritations. Reduces inflammation, soothes your wounds, abates your misery. The wound resolution miracle!"