Guest Author - Amelia Tucker
Happy holidays! It is a great time of year to connect with everyone you hold dear in your life. Sometimes a heartfelt gesture is best made with a homemade gift. Here are some herbal ideas that are easy to whip up and can be made to please any palate.
An herbal blend is mixed together and often ground fine just before using to release the volatile oils that flavor your dish. You can package these simply in clean glass jars with a ribbon or in cellophane bags available at your local craft store. Always include directions for use and let the recipient know that the flavors last longest if the blends are kept out of the light as much as possible. Here are some of my favorites:
Spicy Blend for Meats
Sprinkle this blend directly onto your choice of meat or blend it with your favorite marinade base-mine is oil and vinegar.
1 Tbsp dried Rosemary
1 Tbsp dried Thyme
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)
1 Tbsp dried Sage
Mix well and use liberally on all meats. When making larger batches for gift giving, I simply use equal parts of each until I reach the desired quantity. Try using this as an actual dry rub before roasting or grilling. It is wonderful!
5 Tbsp salt
2 1/2 tsp dry mustard
5 tsp pepper
2 1/2 tsp cloves
4 tsp red pepper
5 tsp ground sage
Mix to taste with ground pork. This makes a lightly spicy sausage. I recommend making and letting sit overnight before frying.
Sweet Dessert Blend
Combine equal parts of the following spices:
Add twice the above amount of Cinnamon
Blend well and keep in a cool, dark place. This is a wonderful blend to add on top of a hot cup of cocoa.
Where would you be without another herbal tea blend? Here is one that I have sold for years with great feedback. It is safe for expecting women and tastes fabulous either hot or iced.
Tea For Mama
1 part Red raspberry leaf
1 part Nettles
1/2 part hibiscus flowers
1/2 part Rose hips-crushed if possible
1/2 part Mint of your choice
1 part Chamomile blossoms
Mix well. This is a lovely looking blend but remember that herbs stay fresh much longer out of direct light and away from heat.