Posted by Lindsay Kluge on Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Figs are in my top favorite fruits of all time. Here in Virginia, July & August bring a wave of fresh figs, and the fig trees are heavily laden with these juicy and sweet ripe fruits. My family’s home in Virginia Beach has about a dozen huge fig trees, and if I’m visiting at just the right time, I can snag some baskets and climb up into the shady limbs, dropping one after another into the baskets while snacking on just as many in the process. The harvesting time kind of sneaks up on me…one day they’re still a little green and the very next morning the squirrels have literally taken a single bite out of every slightly ripened fig on the tree. We keep a whether eye out, and pick at just the right moment – usually multiple times a week and even sometimes twice a day. As I mentioned in a previous posts, everything feels like it ripens at once in the summer months, so I often have a LOT of these little fruits on hand…not that I’m complaining. Figs are absolute heaven on a hot summer day.

 

Posted by Lindsay Kluge on Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Long herbal infusions, like overnight and solar infusions, are one of the most delicious and seasonal ways to enjoy your herbal brews. In the warmer months, sipping on a piping hot cup of tea is not my ideal way to enjoy herbs (it’s over 90F in Virginia on the regular now). Instead, I make lots of herbal blends to let sit under the warm summer sun and infuse on those hot days, or leave some herbal formulas on my counter top, soaking in room temperature, filtered water. I’ll strain these out the following day, add a bit of lemon, honey or even an ice cube or two, and sip all day long. These are like joyous daily herbal brews that help to energetically balance the heat outside, while being 100% tailored to whatever you’re feeling like that day. That’s the beauty of herbs: custom formulation!

Read More: Intuitive Tea Blending 

In my apothecary, I stock loads of cut & sift dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs that I rotate seasonally. In the summer, I love solar infusing herbs rich in vitamin C like hibiscus, (also for the color and tangy flavor!), and herbs that are energetically heart supportive and strengthening. I feel like summer is a huge heart opening time, and enjoying herbs that support heart flow, opening, and expansion feel ideal in my body. My favorite formula for solar infusing in summer includes hibiscus, hawthorn leaf and flower, lemon balm, and yarrow. Once it’s infused under the sun for about 4-5 hours, it develops a rich red, vibrant color that’s tangy, rich, and a little sweet. Sipped daily, this herbal combination is a wonderful heart supportive tonic with a gentle nervine quality that’s calming and uplifting. I add a dash of honey and lemon in the final product, and it makes for the best summer sipper on the hottest days.

How to Make a Solar Herbal Infusion

In a large mason jar (I use about 1 gallon or slightly less), add in your herbs, and then cover with room temperature, filtered water. Find a sunny spot, and let sit in the heat of the sun for at least 4 hours. You can cover with a loose lid if you choose. The heat from the sun should expedite the extraction process, and after 4 hours of solar infusion the brew is ready to enjoy! Strain out the herbs and sip with honey, lime, lemon or ice cubes throughout the day. (Compost the herbs that you strain out!).

How to Make an Overnight Herbal Infusion

For overnight herbal infusions, you can be a little heavier handed with your herbal portions. Overnight infusions allow for 8+ hours for the herbs to infuse in room temperature water. This extended steep allows for practically all of the water soluble constituents of each herb to extract into the water, and also makes for a stronger flavor. This method of tea making is especially ideal for those nutrient rich herbs like alfalfa, oat, nettle and red clover to really shine, as a long water extraction is the ideal way to enjoy the nutrient content of these nutritive herbs. Add all of your herbs to a small mason jar (I use 2 cup mason jars or pint mason jars) and cover with room temperature, filtered water. Let sit on the counter overnight (covered loosely) and then strain in the morning and sip throughout the day. (Compost those herbs, too!)

My favorite overnight infusion includes astragalus root, alfalfa, oat straw, and rosehips. Sometimes I’ll switch out alfalfa for nettle, but often use them interchangeably in this overnight infusion. Both alfalfa and oat straw are richly nutritive herbs, packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, K and C and trace amounts of manganese. Rosehips provide a concentrated dose of vitamin C, and the astragalus offers the deep immune support without being immune stimulating. I love the flavor of this tea – little sweet, a little tart, a little earthy.

Read More: Summer Lunar Infusions

Generally, you can solar or overnight infuse any part of the herb, including leaf, flower, root, stem or rhizome. Keep in mind that with a longer steep, the flavors are often stronger, so experiment with your dosage and be a little more conservative with the stronger flavored or aromatic herbs herbs like mints, ginger, lavender or turmeric. These flavors will come through very strong, so dose a bit lower if you use those.

 

A Visit to Gaia Herb Farm

By Lindsay Kluge

Saturday, June 15, 2019
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Sunday, April 14, 2019