Close your eyes and think of ginger. The vibrant smell when you snap off a fresh piece, the tingle of the taste of it fresh, or the zippy sweet refresh of candied, that bitey burst it adds to chai and so many other dishes. How does that make you feel? Uplifted and sparkly? That's how this amazing herb makes me feel.
That's just the emotional side of this years Herb of the Year! You can find volumes and volumes about ginger (Zingiber officinale), from recipes to oil benefits and beyond. Ginger is an herb that's been used for thousands of years. At one time it was extremely expensive, but luckily it's much more affordable today.
Ginger is well deserving of the honor of Herb of the Year. It is rich in gingerol, carbohydrates, protein, sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. You can see why it's so valuable when fighting colds. And it's not lacking in vitamins! Vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and niacin are just some of the ingredients in the power of ginger. Pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, capsaicin, curcumin, and salicylate provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Here are just a few health benefits to the delightful rhizome.
One of my favorite things to do is infuse ginger into honey or vinegar. It's just such a versatile herb. The honey is a great addition to tea, or to use on ribs or chicken! Add a little honey and an infused vinegar into some seltzer and you have a healthful gingeralesque beverage. So many options to choose from!
Do you know what else is wonderful about ginger? You can grow more ginger from the one you buy at the store! There are some great tutorials online. Once you get started, you'll always have ginger on hand!
Take some time this year to try ginger in different ways. Add it to new dishes, try it in something sweet or savory, and above all Enjoy!
Oh, how I do love pumpkins. And it seems like the "Season of Pumpkin Spice Everything" is upon us earlier every year. We're just past Labor Day and it's everywhere. But me - I love this time of year for the apples. Crisp, juicy, versatile, and so very yummy.
Apples are the glorious gifts of late summer and early fall. There are so many varieties to choose from, and in New Jersey we have a plethora of pick your own farms. Some apples, like Cortlands, are on the sweeter side. Empires are great for eating raw and have a bit of tartness. Fuji's are wonderfully sweet and last a very long time. Granny Smiths are lovely if you prefer the tartness of apples. Jonathans are great for making applesauce, but not for baking because the mush. Yorks are great for baking. I could go on and on, since there are over 100 types of apples grown for commercial use. Actually, there are over 7,000 types of apples grown world wide, but that would take us rather far afield.
There is so much that apples give us. Not just for eating and cooling. On these first cool nights as summer fades to autumn, there is nothing like some warmed apple cider with a cinnamon stick in it. Around here, Delicious Orchards has the best cider. A great place for pick your own apples is Terhune Orchards. They also make some yummy apple wine. And of course there are the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar. We use it in many of our products because it is so good for you on the inside and on the out. Ooh - and I've recently discovered the fun of hard cider, but that again is another story.
February 2nd is coming! And it's the perfect time to get your creative juices flowing by making a batch of Fire Cider!
Winter weather can be challenging. Here in New Jersey, we’ll have a day or two in the 50’s, and then a bone chilling slide down to 7°. There will be chilling rain, bright sun, the fluffy snow then sleet. Let’s face it – if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few hours and it’s likely to change.
All those changes, coupled with the drying effect of indoor heating, can dehydrate your skin and make it itchy, flaky, and irritated. Hands seem to take the worst of it. Cuticles and nails crack more easily, especially when stressing conditions like hot showers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and washing dishes are added.
This drying happens because of moisture loss. Our nails are about 18 percent water. All the extremes in temperature draw out the water from you nails and cuticles. The cold also makes the proteins in your nails more rigid, causing them to be susceptible to breaks and splits.
So how can you keep your hands and nails from becoming split, cracked, tender messes? Here’s a few tips that I’ve found helpful.
Does a sight like this give you the screaming creeps? It does for many. Very appropriate for the Halloween season, but still startling when you walk into it.
I'm actually a fan of spiders. They do a lot of good work in gardens, and even around around the house. They take care of other, more annoying bugs that can be bothersome, so for that I'm grateful.
That being said, there are certain places that I really don't want them weaving their magical webs. Like across my front screen door. This visitor (sorry for the blurry pictures but he was really moving), decided to build his web in what seemed like a sensible place. At least for him. It was across the corner of my screen door by the front light. Perfect place to catch his prey. But it did make it difficult to open the door.
It’s September. Time for the weather to cool, days to grow shorter, and the honey collection season is coming to a close as the bees begin to prepare for winter.
September is National Honey Month. It’s the perfect time to stock up on this amazing gift from those busy bees. Not only is it a delightful sweeter, it has benefits for both your insides and your outsides.
I have to admit that I always have lots and lots of honey on hand. Whenever I’m at a farm market or craft fair (which, as you may know, I go to rather frequently), I always look for a person selling honey and pick some up. I always try to buy honey from apiarists, not from the grocery store. Some store honeys are not completely honey and have sugar added or are so over processed that their benefits are removed. So sticking with local bee keepers is a better option. Raw honey is the best, but look for honey that’s less processed for the best results.
The benefits of honey seem almost endless.
Our feet take quite a beating all year long. They support our weight, and sometimes then some. We tuck them into shoes that might be to tight or not supportive. Let's face it, we're not always that nice to them. They take a real beating. But summer comes along and we want to take them out for a little air, to let them cool in the water or on the soft grass. Sandals, flip flops and barefoot - that's what summers all about.
Here are a few tips to keep your feet feeling happy and looking their summer best.
Barefoot with Care
It's sooo incredibly tempting to go barefoot everywhere. Grass feels so cushy. You want to be ready to just jump in the pool, so why wear your shoes while around it? It all sounds delightful, but it can also be a problem. Fungus, viruses, splinters, bacteria and more lurk in moist warm areas. Wear supportive, light shoes. Or, at the very least, make sure to wash AND dry your feet well when you come in.
I actually enjoy winter. I love how pretty things look as little snow flakes dance down a provide a glistening coat of white to the world. It's dazzling to see tree branches icily glimmer as if wrapped in crystal. Finishing off the evening in front of a warming fire with some hot tea is so relaxing. Not crazy about it getting dark so early, but I do enjoy the cozy feel of being home on a cold winters night.
However, all of the cold, followed by being in warm buildings, then in the cold again can wreak havoc on your skin. I have my hands in different butters and oils and creams almost every day, and I still fall victim to cracked cuticles and dried up knuckles. That's because I don't always do those things you should to protect and keep your skin looking good through the winter.
What are those things you should do? Here's a few tips.
But gently. Removing all those dry dead skin cells will help your skin look better. It also improves your circulation and new skin growth. It's important to not be too harsh, so you don't tear your skin. Especially caution should be taken on your face.
January is the start of a new, shiny year. It's time for fresh starts and a chance to try something different. Like a new blog!
It's also Hobby Month. Hobbies are an interesting thing for me. Celtic Chairde started as a renewed interest in all things herbal, it was a hobby I had when I was younger. That renewed curiosity led to me finding a few interesting recipes for salves and lip balms.
At that time, almost 15 (gulp!) years ago, Cindy and I would get together every couple of weeks with the intent of finishing up some of those half completed projects and hobby pieces we had. You know the ones. A partially finished decoupage kit, some half done plaques, crocheted pieces that still need to get made into something. We all have something like that tucked away. After working on those things for a few months, we began to look for some new playthings. We decided to try a few of those herbal recipes for body butters and lotion bars and lip balms that I had uncovered.
Perpetual herbal and aromatherapy learner. Lover of creating new and interesting blends.
Looking for our older stories and recipes? Check our older blog here.