Onesie Twosie Easy Peasy

As spring moves on and I become more and more active outside and in the garden (“Oh, alright then, just one more tomato plant…” says the lady who swore she wasn’t going to bother with tomatoes this year), I find that I just can’t stop. Cultivating and working with plants is so yummy that I want to do more and more. I begin to scheme as I walk around, wishing I didn’t have to bother with things like cleaning and grocery shopping and errands and instead could spend all my hours in an apothecary with my daughter while we concocted magic all day long. In consensual reality however, sometimes I actually only have a few minutes. Sound familiar? I bet…and so I offer…

Two easy and slightly miraculous things you can make. Today. Probably right now if you life in a neighborhood with gardens or happen to have any on hand…

Calendula Salve

photo courtesy of wikicommons

Next to Lavender, Calendula is one of my favorite cure-alls. Rash? Calenduala. Mosquito bite? Calendula. Scratch, scrape, burn or cut? Calendula. Lip balm? Calendula. Toddler wants to play with a salve bottle? Calendula. Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, astringent and healing, it’s liquid gold. Buying it in the store is ridiculous…it is so easy to make your own.

1. Go outside, taking with you a little clean jar. Find Calendula (Pot Marigold) flowers and pluck off the petals (make sure they are dry or else they will be problematic). Put them in the jar, filling it at least 1/4 full. The more you pick, the more salve you will be able to make. However, a little salve lasts a long time, so you can start small. And as always, leave more than you take for the bees.

2. Go home. Take your olive oil (or almond if you want to get fancy) and slowly pour over the petals in the jar, until they are just submerged. Cover the jar with cheesecloth (or folded toilet paper if you’re a pro like me) and fasten with a rubber band. Place in a window for two weeks (a little sun is ok, but my guess is prolonged sun would break down compounds in the oil and calendula). This is the end of the part that you can do right now.

3. At the end of the two weeks, you should have a beautiful gold oil. Strain out the petals and put the oil in a double boiler, warming the oil very, very gently. To every cup of oil, add 1/4 cup of grated pure beeswax. I only used about 1/4 cup of oil so I will use like 1/16 of a cup of beeswax. Truth be told, I eyeball it, adding in a little at a time and testing it by letting a drop cool on a plate. When it gets to the right salvey consistency, I’m done! And now you are too.

4. Put the salve in a little container or bowl with wrap on top. Ta da!

Awesome easy thing number two.

Infused Olive Oil for Cooking

My community garden has a community herb plot. Right now, two varieties of Oregano are going gangbusters. Have you ever nibbled on fresh Oregano? It’s surprisingly spicey! All kitchen herbs can be infused into olive oil to use for cooking, making salad dressings, drizzling on pizza etc.

1. Find a robust kitchen herb plant (Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Chives, Marjoram, Tarragon etc…Rosemary is prolific in the city, it’s like there’s a plant on every block). Pluck 5-8 stems. Check for critters and shake them back onto the plant if necessary.

2. Go home. If you want to wash your herbs, you will then have to wait for them to dry. If you’re a dirty hippy like me, and don’t care, proceed to step three.

3. Put the sprigs in a jar. Fill to the top with olive oil. Cap.

4. Let herbs steep for at least two weeks (the window isn’t necessary, I put mine in the pantry). You can then take the herbs out, or leave them to infuse longer.

5. Use your oil. Yum!

Each of these projects took under 15 minutes.

What quick and easy little bits of magic are you doing these days?

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14 thoughts on “Onesie Twosie Easy Peasy

  1. Thank you so much for this! I use lavender on my face, but my sister uses calendula (the former didn’t work for her acne, but the latter does the trick), and I’ve planted a lot of calendula this year so that I can maker her her own infused oil. I probably won’t go all the way to salve form, I’ll definitely follow what you did for the oil!

    1. yay! i use lavender on my face too. are you planning on using something besides olive oil for her calendula infusion? i ask because if you don’t make salve, you may need to refrigerate it so it will keep. maybe add some vit. e too. (i learned this the hard way last year…rancid moldy oil…yuck!)

      1. I wasn’t planning on using anything besides olive oil for the infusion, but the Vitamin E sounds like a good idea. It’s so hot here in the summer, so I’ll be sure to refrigerate it. Hayle (my sister) will probably find it pretty refreshing. I may also try to make some salve; we have a hunk of beeswax in the pantry, so it’ll be a great opportunity to use it!

  2. I’m planting my first calendula and lavender this year, and am so excited to have them! I use calendula cream all the time, made here on the Island by a group of lovely ladies among whom I’ve had the pleasure to be occasionally. Making my own would be so fun though, and maybe with lavender too. I love lavender oil for my skin, mixed with regular my moisturizer. It’s very soothing.

    These recipes are lovely and I guess it’s comforting to know that even you get to busy to do magic sometimes, for to me it feels like you scatter delicious creations everywhere you go. Last year I made some rosemary infused olive oil, and it was delicious but when push came to shove, I never managed another batch, so sad.

    Thank you for this amazing inspiration to get off my bum and just make it happen. In spite this cold cold spring the oregano is pushing it’s trusty little head out so no excuses, right?

    1. it just occurred to me, what with both you and sara mentioning that you use lavender or calendula yourself, that it might be really fun to set up an “herbal potion from your region” mail exchange. whoever wanted to participate could make something with their local goodies, and then we could send it as mail love to someone else. hmmmm…..i’ll get back to you on that!

      isn’t it funny how we imagine other people from their blogs? you seem so entirely magical that i have a hard time imagining you needing to get off your bum…instead i think you are out there doing secret magical loveliness all the time. (and i bet you are, despite your protestations). as for me, i feel like i don’t do much of anything! so it’s a nice reflection to hear that it seems like i do a lot! i literally have to cram it in between diaper changes and lovies. xoxo

  3. Oh, and I was gonna add that lately I’ve been really inspired to make vegan pesto, with whatever comes in handy: first it was nettles, now it’s kale and that oregano. Just add sunflower seeds, olive oil and salt and dinner is ready in less than 15 minutes. Feels like magic when you just got home from work ;D

    1. on our way out the door so i will comment to your other comments later 😉 but i just had to say…

      YUM!!!!!!!! we are so making that for dinner tonight.

      love to you lady, have a sweet weekend.

  4. thanks for the post! we’re growing lots of calendula this year because we’ve seen it as an ingredient in lotion bars we’ve liked, but hadn’t actually figured out how to use it yet. problem solved!

  5. Hello, I live in NYC and have a pretty short growing season for Calendula. I was wondering how would one make batches that would keep over late fall into summer?? My son has severe eczema and we have been using the fancy baby brand that is $25 for 4 oz monthly, so you can imagine how excited I was the find this via pinterest.

    1. hi bella. calendula salve keeps well (olive oil and calendula act as a natural preservative, being anti-microbial). if you want to be super sure the batches will keep, add one capsule of vitamin e (poke a hole in the capsule and squeeze the oil out) per bottle. then, after the salve has cooled and set, put the bottles you aren’t using in the fridge. there you go, salve for a whole year!

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