Thursday, March 13, 2008
Magic in the Making
...or should I say...2008 Herb of the Year, Part 3? I'm making a few batches of calendula cream today. Not quite sure the reason behind the surge in orders for it in recent weeks. But it matters not! I do truly look forward to making this particular cream. The finished product always pours into the jars in glossy pale-yellow ribbons that look like the best vanilla pudding, only better! Our calendula cream and calendula soap both use the infused calendula oil that we've made the previous summer. To make the oil, we fill gallon jars with freshly harvested calendula flowers. The flowers are then covered completely with good olive oil. Those jars sit right out there in the garden, close to the bed they were harvested from to absorb the sun's rays for a complete lunar cycle.They are tended daily by shaking the contents well, wiping down any dirt or condensation or singing a little song. There is just something magical that happens in that jar when the sun and moon shine on it for a month! It's just not possible (in my humble opinion) to get that same lovely infusion by doing it on a stove top. In fact, I've tried. After the month has passed, the oil is carefully decanted and strained twice. The final product should be clear and a lovely shade of sunshine gold. The jars are then wiped down and stored in a cool dark place until it is needed. Last year we processed 15 gallons of the stuff and have used nearly all of it. Time to plant the new bed for this year so we get the earliest harvest of flowers. According to the planting calendar the next few days are perfect for planting the seeds. I'm going out to scratch up the soil.