Picture

Rosehips are the  fruit of the rose plant that typically is red-to-orange in colour. They ripen in late summer through until autumn. You can harvest around September and into October. They are the sweetest in flavour after the first frost. 

Rosehips are very high in vitamin C content, providing even more than citrus fruits. During the Second World War in England as well as in Canada, when citrus imports were limited, rosehips became quite popular as they were used to make nutritious rosehip syrup.


Rose hips contain citric acid, ascorbic acid, Vitamin C, D and B, Selenium, lycopene and antioxidant flavinoids. By dehydrating the rose hips and then removing the stem you can store them until ready to use in a tea. Make certain they are well dried before storing in a jar or they will mold. I learned the hard way. The health benefits known to rosehips are an immune strengthener, stimulates circulation, helps with digestion, helps prevent heart disease, prevents bladder infections, eases headaches and regenerates cells.

In herbal lore, the rosehip is good for the skin. In Chinese medicine, rosehip was used for kidney and urinary problems, while Ayurveda (the traditional system of Indian medicine) uses it as a mental tonic. It is good for hormone regulation, skin hydration and circulation, and acts as a cleanser, astringent, antispasmodic and antiseptic. Therefore, a cup of this healthy brew is always a good thing!

Always remember that when wildcrafting rosehips that you leave some for the wildlife! They need winter food as well. I like to leave at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the harvest for the birds. 

A blend of equal parts dried rosehips, mint, orange peel and lemongrass would make a delicious tea. I make mine with just mint and rosehips as it is simple to whip up in the kitchen on a dreary night. 

 
When people hear herbal tea most think of mint leaves and chamomile etc. However these are all technically a drink called a tisane. Teas scientifically speaking are all from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. Herbs do not fall into that category. 

I still call my herbal drinks "teas" and I use the word tisane for my "teas" using fruit. I don't think the average person really cares what it's called as long as it tastes good. This tisane, I custom made for a sweet client of mine. It's simple to make, although the hard part of growing and dehydrating everything is the most time consuming. 
To make this tisane, in a small bowl combine:
1/4 cup hand crushed peppermint & spearmint leaves
1/8 cup Hibiscus 
2 Tablespoons dehydrated strawberries
1 Teaspoon dehydrated orange peel
The fruit mixed with the mint is a stellar combination!
Use 1 tablespoon of dried tisane and allow to steep in 1 cup of hot water for about 3-5 minutes. Flavour with raw honey if desired. Enjoy!
 
Well marshmellows are neither a tea nor a beverage but we certainly can put them in hot chocolate!
I had my first taste of a true homemade marshmellow last year. 39 years and I had never tasted a true marshmellow. Well what a difference. The texture is different but in a good way and the ingredients are incredibly simple. I'm not quite sure why I haven't made them before? I suppose it is because all I ever known was store bought? Well I will share the recipe I found in Chatelaine magasine.
Picture
In a small saucepan combine:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup cold water 
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir until incorporated. Set the heat on high and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute and DO NOT stir.
Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

While you are waiting for the sugars to boil line an 8X8 baking dish with plastic wrap so that it overhangs the edges. Lightly spray with cooking oil.

In your mixing bowl add:
1/4 cup warm water
2 envelopes of unflavoured gelatin (equal to 14 grams)
Allow this to sit for 2 minutes to allow it to softened

Set your mixer on high speed. Pour hot syrup in a stream down the side of the mixer bowl, beating gelatin mixture until it is thick and sticky and white peaks form. This takes about 4 minutes. Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a metal spatula.Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.

In a small bowl whisk together:
1/4 cup icing sugar with 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sift 1/3 of this mixture onto the top of the marshmellow. Turn the marshmellow onto a cutting board that is dusted with another 1/3 of the icing sugar mixture. Slice the marshmellow into cubes about 1 inch square. Roll each marshmellow in remaining sugar until all sides are coated. Store in an airtight container.
 
Enjoy!
 
Picture
One of the best ways to calm a sore tummy is by using mint. Dried mint from your own garden is always the best. You can harvest it while it's full strength and the tea can literally make your stomach tingle. 
This blend is equal parts of Catmint, Spearmint and Peppermint. It's really quite simple. The tiny teabags you get in the store are mediocre at best. You don't really realize how different they are until you grow your own and use it in your own teas. I use 1/2 cup, 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup to make this tea.
  • Catmint has antibiotic properties and is traditionally used to treat colds and flu. It helps reduce fevers and calms stomach upset. 
  • Spearmint has compounds that relieve fatigue and stress.
  • Peppermint contains high levels of menthol. Traditionally it has been used to ​soothe nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion and irritable bowel.

 
This is a spice blend that can be created suited to your own personal taste. This is my basic recipe yet you can increase the pepper for a spicier taste or more cinnamon for an earthy taste.

Combine:
1/8 teaspoon peppercorns, ground (optional)
2 tablespoons ginger
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons orange peel

In a small saucepan add:
1/2 teaspoon of the chai spice
2 cups milk
Sugar to taste.
Make your Orange Pekoe tea as you normally would. Pour half a cup of tea into your mug and top up with the milk spice liquid, straining through a tea sieve if desired. Enjoy!

 
Picture
Well I can't say I like the taste of apple cider vinegar. I know it's good for you but I've always needed to mix it with something to get rid of the vile taste! I made my first batch of apple cider vinegar last year. Did it ever turn out well and it's incredibly easy to make!  You can use this recipe for vinegar to drink, you can add to salad dressings or you can make these batches for something entirely different. Yup...I'm going to leave you hanging until the end of this post as to what I'm using this for. 

I found a crabapple tree and grabbed a small pail full. To make the vinegar you can use regular apples however they cannot be sprayed or waxed or it will not ferment. You will need to cut them in half or quarters. Allow the apples to brown on a cookie sheet for 2-3 days. By allowing them to brown it will increase fermentation by introducing live bacteria on the apples. 
In large mason jars fill half way with room temperature water. DO NOT use chlorinated water as this will stop fermentation. We are on well water so I have no issues with chlorine. I made two different versions for the apple cider vinegar to see which one works better. One is made with honey and the other with sugar. Use 3 tablespoons white sugar or 1/4 cup honey in one large liter jar. Fill with apples. 


Picture
You can use either a coffee filter or cheesecloth for the top of your jar. It is important that you do not use the jar lid as the fermentation process will build up enough pressure that it can explode your jar. I used cheesecloth and tied it with twine. 
Place the jars out of sunlight. They need to stay warm so I would suggest to put them on top of your fridge.
Allow to sit for 1-2 weeks.

A scum of yeast or sometimes what is also called the "mother" should develop on the top. That is completely normal. 

Picture
After one week the jars are busy fermenting away. I have a good yeast on the top but so far no "mother". During my research some are saying remove the scum, others are saying keep it on top. I decided to skim off the scum. 
I let it sit for another week on top of the fridge. I strained it, then put into another sterilized container for use! Some people don't like to pasteurize it if they are drinking it. I found for my recipe that I don't mind taking a teaspoon or so and drinking it as it has a very mild taste.  I'm using it for a hair rinse as well as a natural all purpose kitchen cleaner. If you are using it for those purposes than bring it to a boil once it is strained, so it will stop fermenting. Compost the old apples. Store the finished cider vineager in a cupboard away from sunlight. 

 
Picture
I ran out of those hot chocolate packets in the winter and have refused to buy them ever since. I must admit it was the price that made me pause. $3.99 to $8 depending on the brand for sugar and chocolate in a can or box? 


Then because I'm a fanatic at reading  labels I flipped it over and was gobsmacked. I mistakenly thought that hot chocolate was just that, chocolate with sugar. Is nothing sacred? More additives in the commercial variety with of course preservatives for "freshness" and synthetic flavourings for mass production. So I thought I could do better on both counts. Price and flavour. I will NEVER go back to buying it pre-made. The recipe is so easy that anyone can do it. This is not hot chocolate this is HOT COCOA EXTRAORDINAIRE!

In a small bowl mix together:
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup pure cocoa (the dark variety that has cocoa oil still in it, pricey but well worth it and still cheaper in the end)
Pinch of salt (tricks your brain that it's sweeter than what it is without more sugar being added)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (that's the secret ingredient)

Once combined store in a jar. Add 2 Tablespoons of mixture to a mug (or to taste) and add boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Add a splash of 1/2 and 1/2 cream to this, milk or you could also add to coffee! Cafe Mocha! here we come! Enjoy! Next step? Learning how to make marshmellows from scratch.....

 
Picture
Rhubarb...rhubarb...what to do with all that rhubarb?  This is a refreshing and tangy drink just perfect for summer. No chemical colourants allowed in this drink.
In a large pot bring to a simmer:
6 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain through a sieve into a bowl. You can use the cooked down rhubarb as a topping for ice cream if you add a bit of sugar and the juice of one orange. 
Allow the syrup mixture to cool and store in the fridge. 
When ready to serve, pour 1/4 of your glass full with the rhubarb syrup and top up with Sprite or Gingerale. Enjoy!

 
Picture
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, this ice tea! Before I started using fresh herbs on a regular basis in my cooking I had always been somewhat timid when using herbs as a beverage choice. I'm not sure why? Perhaps a bad experience as a child? Lemonbalm the herb grows abundantly in my garden. It really does tolerate any type of soil from sand to the worst clay soil!  This is one herb you should always have in your garden. To make an iced tea you will need to grab a handful of the Lemonbalm, approximately a 1/2 cup. No need to take the leaves off the stem! Put this into a pot and pour boiling water (about 4 cups or half a pitcher) onto this. Steep 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you'd like your drink to be. Add to this the juice of one lemon. Strain into a pitcher and then add 3 tablespoons honey or white sugar.  Stir until dissolved. Add an additional 4 cups (or to the top of the pitcher) with cold water and refrigerate. The natural sweetness of the lemonbalm compared to the tartness of "lemonade" allows this recipe to have very little sugar. You don't even have to add it if you don't wish too! This is my drink of choice now in the summertime.

 
Picture
I adore mulling spices. Due to my environmental allergies, scented candles in the fall (or anytime for that matter) is a huge no-n0. Can you say instant migraine? I put the spices in a small pot of apple cider or water and allow to simmer so that it scents the house. 
Mulling spices are a European spice mixture that are used in drink recipes. You can add it to juices, apple cider or tea. A mulled drink is one that  has been prepared with these spices (usually through heating the drink in a pot with mulling spices and then strained). You can use a combination of spices. Usually it consists of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Less frequently you can use star anise, peppercorn and cardamom. You also can add dried fruit such as raisins, apples or orange rind. 

My preference for simmered mulling spices for scent is different than the one I would use to drink. 120ml Mulled Spice Tins can be ordered on my online shop as well.