Category Archives: Herb Gossip

Cherry Harvest!

It takes less than 15 minutes to 'tickle' a gallon of cherries off a cherry tree!
It takes less than 15 minutes to ‘tickle’ a gallon of cherries off a cherry tree!

It’s Cherry Season! Soon those cherries will be falling off the bushes so you’d better grab them now. It’s easy to get lots of lovely ripe cherries off a bush – this batch took me about 15 minutes. There are two methods to quick and easy cherry picking:

Method #1. Tickle A Cherry Bush

When your cherries are fully ripe, select a branch and place a wide container under it to catch the berries. Starting at the ‘root’ of the branch (where it meets the trunk), wiggle the fingers of both hands in between the leaves and the branch, in a tickling motion, gently coaxing the cherries off the bush. You will have to make several tickling passes per branch. Only the ripe berries will fall off when tickled. I think it actually helps to remember that you are ‘tickling’ the cherry tree – this will make sure you don’t pull too hard and break any of the cherries.

I prefer the tickling method when I go hunting for cherries in public spaces or in neighbor’s yards, as it allows me harvest the cherries right away, at the height of their firm ripeness.

If you're a patient person, you can let nature collect the cherries for you!
If you’re a patient person, you can let nature collect the cherries for you!

Method #2: The Drop-Cloth

Some cherry bushes loose their fruit onto the ground when it becomes over-ripe. Not all cherry bushes do this, but if you are lucky enough to have the right type, this method is definitely the easiest.

When your cherry tree is ripe, spread blankets, bedsheets or towels underneath it, smoothing them down flat. Make sure the center of each blanket is lower or level to the outsides. When the cherries naturally drop off the bush, they will collect on your blanket. Cherries may take between 1 – 4 days to drop, but it often happens in one fell swoop – so check your blankets often. You can also give your cherry bushes a shake a couple of times a day to speed the process along. Then carefully gather up the edges of your blankets, and cackle over your massive cherry harvest!

The Drop-Cloth method works best if you have a cherry bush in your own yard, as you have to leave a blanket down and wait for the cherries to drop. It is the easiest method, but the cherries will be quite soft; however they are still suitable for juice, syrups, or jellies with added pectin.

What do you do with all those cherries?

You GARBLE them!

Garbling is the process of removing the leaves, bugs and bits from your harvested cherries.This is also a very simple process if you know how to do it:

Fill bucket 1/2 full of cherries
Fill bucket 1/2 full of cherries

Add water to the top of the bucket
Add water to the top of the bucket
Scoop out the junk as it floats to the top
Scoop out the junk as it floats to the top

 

The pictures above pretty much sums it up. After you scoop out a handful of leaves and bits, stir the cherries up a few more times to allow the rest of the junk to float to the surface. Unripe cherries or bad cherries will also float to the top sometimes, and when you’ve scooped it all out, you end up with bright, clean cherries. If you are picky, you can now rinse them in a colander for extra squeaky clean points.

 Sweet! Clean Cherries! Now What?

There are a few options for your cherries, and 1 important safety note.

Safety First: Raw cherry pits contain hydrocyanic acid and other cyanins – the cousins of cyanide. This has led to warnings about consuming certain amounts of fresh or raw cherry products that were processed with the pits still in. Nobody can say for sure what amount of cherry pits is harmful to any one particular human. Of course, you can just spit the pit out or discard it when you make juice or jelly.

I’m planning on making cough syrup with some of my cherries, and that hydrocyanic acid will actually play a medicinal role in the formula! To learn how to make cherry cough syrup and see the other recipes I used my cherries in, check out my next blog on cherries (coming up next week). For now, I’ll be freezing my clean cherries in large freezer bags (the ones I don’t eat, anyway), so they’re ready when I need them.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Rhodiola: Mountain Queen of Stamina

rhodiola-rosea1Rhodiola rosea and her cousins (aka Rose root, Golden Root) are truly the Queens of the Northern Mountains, bringing Healing, Wisdom and Fortitude to the people in their communities.

These sweet, flavourful roots have an ancient and cherished fellowship with us humans. A mountain dweller herself, Rhodiola enables humans to live at high altitudes by aiding the flow of oxygen to body tissues.

Rhodiola gives stamina and strength – she will push you up that mountain when you

canmore_rocky_mountains-hd-wallpaper haven’t got the energy. Lady Rhodiola is a jolly, friendly powerhouse who will encourage you to use your power to the fullest!

In fact, Olympic athletes in Russia and China have relied on her to help them train longer, with shorter recovery periods in between.

She provides extra oxygen to the muscles and is an excellent coach for those undergoing endurance training, cutting down on recovery time, and giving you the enthusiasm of a Viking.

This is how I picture the cheerful, buxom Queen of the Mountains, Rhodiola:

Rhodiola_viking_queen

She exudes confidence, gently emboldening men and women both, setting a healthy example for the timid types.

Traditionally, Rhodiola makes up part of a tasty, adaptogenic liqueur known as Nastojka. Sit down for a drink with Rhodiola and you will see her flirty side, hear her baudy jokes and blush at her playful sexuality. She loves to get a rise out of the Menfolk.

 

_Erda_wife_of_Odin__mother_of_the_Valkyries

 

Sword in hand, Rhodiola is a Shield-maiden to your liver and immune system, defending them with stoic fierceness. She has shown immune enhancing properties in more than 50 scientific studies, improving levels of antibodies and white blood cells. She will build you up, battling the demons of anemia, infections, colds and flus, cancer, and inflammation.

Rhodiola is not only a Valkyrie in battle, she is good for the soul, like a dear friend. She will help restore you when you are fatigued from over-working the body or the mind. Spending time with Rhodiola benefits the psyche, increasing resistance to stressors of all types, be they mental, emotional, or physical. Showing special attention to your adrenal glands, Rhodiola can aid parents and students with hectic schedules, or anybody who feels overwhelmed by responsibility. Rhodiola’s kind ministrations have traditionally shown benefit for fatigue and depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, and other nervous system disorders.

rhodiola-roseaAs a warrior must be cunning as well as strong, The Lady of the Mountains can be a good tutor, improving cognitive ability, lending you her sharp memory and mental focus to study for that big test.

Renowned across the lands for her Fierceness and Feminity, Rhodiola is a legend as far afield as China, Russia, Tibet and Northern Europe. Her fame even reaches to India, where she is recognized in Ayurvedic medicine as a Rasayana, a herb which prolongs life.

IMG_20130102_161558Kodiak’s Dual extraction of Rhodiola rosea can be used on a daily basis to provide the energetic power of a Valkyrie, enhancing stamina and improving cognitive ability, allowing you to enjoy the revelry of a life well lived.

Just to be on the safe side: while Rhodiola has no known toxicity, as a precaution she should be avoided by those who take psychiatric medications or are pregnant, unless under the advice of a your healthcare professional.

 

Marilyn Monroe of Flowers: The Rose

Chocolate_RosesThere are many cousins in the rose family, the most beloved of which is the modern hybridized rose. Roses can be grown in rainbow colors (sometimes all on one single bloom!). Among them, Red Rose is a modern and ancient sign of true love.

Roses and their significance are so well known in our culture, they have become an unmistakable sign of romantic intentions to the point that they are mostly avoided in platonic situations. The yellow rose however signifies friendship, while white roses are a symbol of purity. The best kind of roses, IMO, are chocolate roses.

Aphrodisiac chocolate and Rose go well together, as they both inspire passion. Here is a recipe for Dark Chocolate Rose Candies like the ones above, made with real rose essential oil!

A delicious marriage of sexy symbolism, these are the perfect dessert for a romantic evening. With the addition of Maca we create little love-potions in candy form, suitable for sharing with your Amour.

Rose Oil Dark Chocolates

200 gm Cacao mass (pure unsweetened chocolate)

3 tbsp Coconut oil

4 tbsp Honey

2 tbsp Maca Root powder

1 tbsp Vanilla extract

2 drops pure Rose essential oil

Gently melt the Cacao, Coconut oil and Honey in a small pan on the lowest possible setting. Add the Maca root powder and Vanilla extract and stir until completely blended. Remove from heat and add 2 drops of pure Rose essential oil, mixing thoroughly. Immediately pour into chocolate molds (rose-shaped if you can find them) and allow to set in the refridgerator for 1 hour, or until solid.

Apple of My Eye

 

woven appleThe Rose family has always been prominent, both celebrated and infamous – the eye of a storm of rumors and beliefs in cultures world-wide. They are associated with Love, Sweetness and with the color Red. Of this prestigious lineage, sweet, humble Apple is known world-wide for her reliable tastiness, abundance, and sensual symbolism.

Adam and Eve at the Apple Tree
Adam and Eve at the Apple Tree

 

The Apple tree is sometimes cited as the tree from which the devil tempted Eve to eat of the ‘Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’, and since that time, Apple has earned herself a duplicitous reputation in more ways than one.

An Apple was put upon the table of feasting Greek Gods with the note: ‘for the most beautiful woman in the world‘. Naturally, this mischievous message started an argument between the Goddesses present. The ‘Apple of Discord‘ incident eventually culminated in the Trojan War.

 

Roman_Tomb_Apple

 

Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, is often seen carrying the Apple of Discord. Roman husbands, mourning the passing of their beloved ladies, often commissioned elaborate tombstones of their deceased soul-mate holding this very same apple – to show the world that to them, she was the most beautiful.

Apples in Japanese Pop culture are used as a symbol of Love, in the much the same way hearts are used in North America.

poison appleAt the center of an apple are seeds containing the deadly poison cyanide; a toxic dose of cyanide, inhaled, can stop a heart. This same poison is the weapon of choice for several perfidious but lovely members of the Rose family. Some believe it bears a symbolic warning about the nature of Love.

 

Apple-Cinnamon Bacon? I'm Yours!
Apple-Cinnamon Bacon? I’m Yours!

Apple has certainly maintained the family image in many ways, with her throngs of followers and paramours; as well as her on-going and much publicized romance with Spicy Cinnamon. Together they have popularized an entire genre of scented candles, massage oils and romantic recipes.

 

Tune in next month, near Valentines day, when we will discover the lives and loves of Apple’s most romantically daring cousin and namesake of the family, the enthralling Sex Symbol: Rose.