Fresh, Summery, Tomato-y Awesomesauce

Recently I put out the word to my neighbors via a neighborhood Facebook page that I’m interested in gleaning any extra yard produce if they weren’t using it.  I got a pretty nice response, the best being from a neighbor who had tomatoes among other things.  There were at least 4 different types from what I could tell.  I picked to my heart’s content and took home a bucketful of ripe organic tomatoes.  So what did I do?  I made sauce, of course.

I threw some herbs from the garden, some locally sourced garlic, sea salt a pinch of sugar and evoo into the pot along with the beautifully colored orange and red tomatoes.  I simmered the mix for the day and when it was done i blended it with a stick blender which also removes all the tomato skins!  I’ll use this awesomesauce to make eggplant chicken melts for my family for dinner tonight.  

Y  U  M.  



Herbal Honey

Ever since I learned about herbal honey a couple of years ago, I have made it a priority to keep some in my fridge at all times.  If you’re like me and prefer natural cold remedies to over the counter stuff you will be making this, I’m quite sure!

The base for this incredible chunky elixir is lemons, ginger and local raw honey.  I like to add various things to this mix, we’ll get to that shortly.  😉  

Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and bioflavinoids, both are wonderful at restoring the body back to health.  Lemon is also anti-inflammatory and helps to soothe sore throats.

Ginger is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and promotes perspiration.  It loosens phlegm and is great in tea.

Honey in raw form retains the natural medicinal qualities and resins that nourish the body unlike processed honey can.  “Honey has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4000 years.  Honey is an ingredient in 634 remedies in ancient Hindu vedic texts. The Ebers Papyrus of ancient Egypt expounded on the medicinal properties of honey, and it is contained in nearly every ancient Egyptian remedy. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” wrote,  “Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.” – See more at: ”  When you use local honey not only are you helping out your local bee-keeper and community, you are ingesting the pollen of local plants and that sort of acts like a natural allergy shot.

Thinly slice the lemons, finely grate the ginger with the peel, put it in a big mason jar and cover with honey.  Honey is also a natural preservative so it will keep in the fridge indefinitely.  

Now for the fun part!  You can customize this old folk remedy to your liking, I have and have come up with some pretty amazing stuff.  I’ve added dehydrated rosehips, rosehip puree, cooked elderberry puree, cinnamon, buddha’s hand, meyer lemon, galangal and even garlic to it.  Not all at once but I like to keep adding to the existing jar, rarely do I start over with a clean jar, it makes it interesting and it’s always delicious.  

I often combine it with fire cider, I’ll blog about that soon.

Just keep it in the back nether regions of your fridge, after awhile it begins to gel together, kinda like jam.  When you feel the crud coming on put a big spoonful in a glass, add hot (not boiling) or room temp water and drink this tea several times a day until you start feeling better.

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Huckleberries are my mom’s favorite berry so when I came across an area that was just bursting with these berries we had to stop for an hour or 2 and collect as much as we could.  Honestly I’ve never seen huckleberries like this before, they were the size of blueberries!  We picked and picked and still left plenty behind for another trip perhaps.

Mom’s birthday is coming up so I’ll let her decide what we’ll do with these big fat blueberry sized red huckleberries.  I’m guessing she’ll want jelly which means I’ll have to hit my favorite crabapple tree to add for natural pectin.  Crabapples add a fabulous flavor to all my jellies and I found the most glorious tree in someone’s front yard, the occupants have generously allowed me to harvest this tree year after year and I have made some delectable jellies and jams with them.

Mom won’t be up for another week or so.  In the freezer they will stay until she lets me know what she would like me to do with them.  Pics to follow!

Processing Rosehips

The other day while out foraging the city with my foraging partner we came across a thick stand of Rosa Rugosa (wild rose) bushes.  R. Rugosa produces the biggest, juiciest most beautiful rosehips.  We got to fill up a couple bags and still leave plenty behind.  I have a personal rule to never forage more than 30%, leave some for the animals and other people.  Unless we’re talking about the lone elderberry tree we found in someone’s yard, we’ve been given permission to harvest it and we will take everything in that case.  Elderberries, that is a subject for another blog and believe me there will be one, it’s my most coveted berry this season.

Ok, back to rosehips.  Did you know they contain crazy high amounts of Vitamin C? The downside it is, the Vit. C starts to break down when rosehips are heated or processed.  So I immediately added raw organic honey to my puree to preserve it.

I simmered the rosehips with a little water until just softened, you don’t want to heat them too much.


Then I quickly put them all through the food mill.


 I added a bit of lemon juice to preserve the color and added Vit. C.


After adding the honey to the puree I put it in a big pickle jar and into the freezer for future use.  I’ll use this beautiful red luscious goodness in herbal honey and salve.

Rosehips, one of my favorite things.

Pine Tar Salve


It’s blackberry time in the Pacific Northwest and that means sore fingers for this lady. It’s those little thorns that I can’t grab with my fingernails that end up almost always getting infected, ouch! Pine tar salve is the answer to this problem. Just dab a little on the splinter, bandage it up and the next day that little bugger is out.

Pine pitch (tar) is the blood of the pine tree. It’s thick, syrupy, super-sticky and wonderfully fragrant. Now please don’t go running off into the woods stabbing the pine trees, there’s plenty to be found. If you look around the base of pines and on the trunks you will probably find enough of these golden nuggets to make a balm. I gathered enough to fill a sardine tin, with it I made enough to last our family for a long time.


After you have gathered what you need, break up the big hard pieces in a rag with a hammer so it can melt down faster.


Then put all of your pitch into a pan and melt it down using the low heat setting.  You probably don’t want to use your good everyday pans for this project.  I used an old cake pan that I don’t care too much about.


Next add some coconut oil and beeswax. I didn’t measure anything but I used about a half cup coconut oil and about 2 teaspoons of beeswax.


Once it was all melted I gave it a good stir, strained it and put into a mason jar.



Don’t forget to label and date it, enjoy!

Magnesium Scrub with St. John’s Wort

A fellow soap maker and Fb friend ordered a jar of mag scrub from me recently. I was quite honored to receive an order from someone in my field, that’s a pretty darn big compliment! She said she had some aches and wanted the scrub to help with that in her bath. When I went to my shelf to get one I realized I was all out of that particular scent so I got to making one for her. As I was making up the scrub I saw my bottle of SJW sitting there and I thought what a wonderful addition it would make because it’s also really great for aches and pains. So I added it in and was amazed at the beautiful rosy glow it took on and decided that I need to share this one with the world. I love when these little happy accidents occur, my best ideas sometimes are had like that. Same price ($10) too.


Cool Man Cool…….finally.


I and my fellow Western Washingtonians have just survived 12 days with over 80 degree heat. Some of those days even reached into the 90’s! I know my Arizona friends would say “Pshaa!, you don’t know, try 115 degrees!” First of all, we don’t have this thing you call air conditioning up here in the Pacific Northwest and second, 80 here is not 80 in AZ. 80 in AZ is very pleasant especially when sitting in your air conditioned home admiring all those pretty cacti through the lowE, dual paned, gas-filled windows. 80 here is damn hot. Women my age (48) tend to not like to be hot and sweaty and have to sit in front of a fan with a spray bottle all swamp cooler style to cool off until we have to make dinner in a hot kitchen. I recently manifested a gas BBQ grill so my life recently got a bit easier. I’ll blog about manifesting sometime, it’s crazy, weird and I wish I had discovered it sooner. Anyway, back to topic. Today they say it will be only 78 and if that’s true then I will be a pretty happy Lady.

I haven’t made ANY soap during these last 12 days due to the high temps because soapmaking is also very hot. And we now all know I’m a wimp with the hot. So today I get to make soap. Rose geranium first and then juniper berry & tangerine. I also have 2- 10 lb loaves of soap waiting to be cut, peppermint and lavender & tangerine and get them on the shelves to start the curing process. It takes about 4 weeks to get the soap nice and hard and suitable for the market. Cold-processed soap takes some time but the result is a luxurious, creamy bar of fragrant goodness. I put shea butter in my soap as well as coconut oil, rice bran oil and essential oils, that’s it. Simple, I’ve found that life is much simpler when I keep it simple.

Tomorrow I’ll post the soap pics, happy Friday!

~Dana, Soapista

St. John’s Wort Oil. Crimson Beauty.

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I get very excited for St. John’s Wort season here in the Pacific Northwest. This is one of my very favorite medicinal herbs. SJW is wonderful for the skin! It heals scratches and scrapes, burns and bruises. It’s also great for muscle aches. I love how the oils changes to red when the medicine is released from the plant material.

So here’s what you do.

1. Gather the young flowers and especially the buds that haven’t opened yet and put them in a glass jar. I use mason jars from the Goodwill but any glass jar will do.

2. Fill it up with an oil of your choice, I use rice bran oil for it’s high antioxidants and skin loving qualities but any good oil like olive oil is fine.

3. Set it in the sun for 4 weeks, strain and enjoy.

SJW oil is a main ingredient in Wild Rose Salve and has been in every salve we’ve made.

It’s incredible stuff! Please share how yours turns out and what you use it for!

Mullein Flower Cough Syrup

I recently made a wonderful cough syrup using only mullein flowers and turbinado sugar. I simply layered in a small jar the blossoms and the sugar. I put the jar in a sunny window for a few weeks. The result is a beautiful, amber colored, throat-coating elixir that will come in very handy this Winter. Mullein is a wonderful herb for treating coughs and lung issues. I also tincture the fuzzy leaves in vodka for a superb extract that effectively fights colds and flu.

Wild Rose Salve

Our newest healing salve is truly a treat for your skin. Wild rose (R.rugosa) is soothing, a natural tonic and these fragrant petals are the star of the show. 

This Summer Mother Nature has been very generous, gifting us with a bounty of vigorous herbs this year. I have been busy gathering and infusing them in coconut oil, rice bran oil with it’s serious anti-aging qualities and shea butter. We’ve also included, yarrow, St. John’s wort, lavender, comfrey, horsetail, calendula and plantain, all wild and pesticide free. Wildcrafted herbs combined with the best oils for the skin make this a high quality balm with a subtle hint of wild roses that your skin will absolutely love. It is a superb, chemical free nightcream. The healing power of these ingredients also ‘heals’ fine facial lines.

Great for burns, bruises, scrapes, scratches and muscle aches too. 

High quality ingredients shouldn’t mean high price tag. Only $12 for a 4 oz jar.