Welcome, 2016. Now, let's have some real winter weather so my apple trees don't bloom in January. Our elderberries have broken dormancy and are leafing out because they heard it was spring. Yikes!
It was actually cold today, so that felt more normal. I brought in the new year by making herbal infused oils to use in a batch of skin balm. When a friend and I made balm recently, we used the basic recipe found here. The sunny yellow of the dried calendula was so darn cheerful, I couldn't help but be in a good mood.
Herbs l to r: comfrey, lemon balm, calendula, chickweed, lavender
To make the oil is fairly simple:
1) Dry fresh herbs (or buy dried herbs)
2) Wash mason jars with hot, soapy water and dry well.
3) Put dried herb in the jar (you can mix but I like to do a single type of herb in a jar) and cover with oil of your choice. I have only used extra virgin olive oils, but there are many other options.
4) If it is summer and warm, place in your window sill and infuse for a few months, shaking jars daily (or when you think of it). If you want a quicker oil, very gently heat the oils (I use my dehydrator set to 115 degrees for 4 hours and then 100 degrees overnight). I have read of using a slow cooker with a water bath set to warm can work as well.
5) Your oil is ready when it has taken on the color and aroma of the herb you infused. Strain out herbs (I use a nylon mesh paint strainer) and store in jars or bottles until ready to use away from heat and direct sunlight.