Autumn in the Garden

Growing up in a farming community has made me keenly aware of seasonal changes. Those of us who don’t farm usually have gardens and grow a variety of plants throughout the seasons. However, autumn is definitely one of my favorite times in the garden. As an herb gardener, the end of summer harvest is one of the busiest times of year for making my own tinctures, infusions, vinegars, teas and dried herbal powders. The herbs I grow are divided into primarily 3 groups: culinary, calming and invigorating. Today, I am going to share how to make my invigorating herbal infusion. I use it throughout the winter for an aromatic ode to summer. It can be used for a facial mist, linen spray, hair rinse and just a general mood booster!

In the early morning harvest the leaves of : Lemon Verbena, Orange Mint, Peppermint, Rosemary,  and Lemon Thyme. After cleaning and separating the leaves place them in a Pyrex bowl. Concurrently, have your tea kettle on and bring the water to a low boil. Once the water is to temperature, pour enough water to saturate and cover the herbs. Lastly, cover the bowl with a heavy linen towel and let them steep for about an hour. Once you can see the water has become a luscious green and notice the scent of aromatic oils in the air you can strain the plant material out of the water and pour it into clean mason jars or glass spray bottles.

You must keep these fresh plant material infusions refrigerated once made due to potential bacterial contamination by any microscopic plant material that may have been left behind. Sometimes I also make this mixture into herbal ice cubes to toss into a refreshing bath or to add an herbal twist to a punch or soup. The ice cubes come in very handy with many herbs at the end of the season.  It is so rewarding to use the last of the summer herbs in herbal products for health, home and gifts. It is an annual ritual that helps me transition from warm summer nights to the crisp shorter days of autumn. Even now as I sit and sip a cup of fresh mint tea I am making plans for next years garden. This planning will continue through winter and keeps me in a ‘Garden’ frame of mind all year!

” Fall leaves, fall: die, flowers away;  Lengthen night and shorten day! Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the Autumn tree…”Emily Bronte 

Now it is time to replace the busyness of Summer with the more reflective days of Autumn and I for one am ready for the extra hours of rest that may come from this transition. May you be blessed this season with grace and gratitude in each new day!

Harvest love and blessings….Sara

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