What You Will Need To Make The Recipes In Entangled Botanicals by Ashley November..

The equipment you’ll need for making the preparations {recipes} is most likely in your kitchen already. Wash all utensils, surfaces, containers, and your hands thoroughly before preparing these recipes.

Pots and Pans: Make sure you have good quality cookware, including small and large saucepans. Uncoated stainless steel is best; do not use aluminum pans because they’ll react with the active components, resulting in discolored or off-tasting products.

A double boiler is useful for melting wax and warming ingredients without the risk of overheating or scorching. Some people like slow cookers for melting and warming, as well as for making infused herbal oils. The gentle, steady warmth of the slow cooker {set at 100 degrees F or low} increases the concentration of the final oil.

Weights and Measures: Measuring cups that are made of good quality heat-resistant glass like Pyrex are excellent because the glass does not interact with the herbs {oils}. Glassware also allows you to gauge your progress by observing the color and texture of your liquid. You can judge the strength of a decoction, for instance, by how dark and rich its color is. Some ingredients, such as beeswax, are typically measured and sold by the pound and ounce, so a small kitchen scale is also handy.

Food Processor, Blender, or Grinder: Food processors can be useful for shredding fresh roots, seeds, and leafy materials. Use them to chop herbs coarsely before you place them in the blender or grinder for finer grinding.

Any good blender will do the job, but if you have one with a high-speed motor, like a Vitamix, you’ll be able to do a lot more with less time and energy. The Vitamix brand has a reverse function, which helps untangle herb roots and stems from the blade, and it breaks down the plant material more thoroughly than other models. Consider purchasing a blender with a large blender jar. A 1-gallon capacity Waring blender is a good choice; it’s consistently tough and efficient.

A small seed or coffee grinder is handy for grinding small quantities of dry seeds, root slices, and leaves. A good one, such as a Moulinex, often yields a finer particle size than a blender will. {Note: If you regularly need to shred whole burdock roots, dislodge seeds from really large flower-heads, or work with fibrous garden stalks, consider investing in a small garden compost shredder.}

Containers and Labels: For extracting herbs {removing and concentrating the active ingredient} and storing herbal preparations, you can purchase decorative jars or save and reuse glass jars from the grocery store; just be sure used jars are sterilized and have tight-fitting, rust-free lids. Canning jars are perfect: I use the quart or half-gallon sizes for tincturing and for storing teas and dried herbs. For creams and salves, look for smaller, short, wide-mouth containers and tins.

To bottle liquid tinctures for individual use, you’ll want to purchase amber Boston rounds – those small, brown glass jars with droppers that are commonly used to package commercial herbal liquids. They come in 1- to 8-ounce sizes.

It’s important to label all of your containers with the ingredients and the date. For finished preparations, be sure to include instructions for using the final product and any warnings that apply; put that right on the label.

Food Dehydrator: A food dehydrator is a great investment. It will dry flowers, leaves, root slices, and other herb parts quickly while preserving their valuable components and colors. Many come with nylon fruit leather tray inserts, which you’ll find useful when making dried teas. If you can, buy a dehydrator with an adjustable fan speed and temperature controls.

Electric Juicer: Although a juicer is not essential for the extraction process, it increases the types of herbal preparations you can make. Juicers remove the juice from fresh herbs, which can then be used fresh or dried. You may also want to consider a hand-operated herb press, which helps squeeze out the liquid when you are making tinctures and infused oils.

Infusers and Strainers: For infusing {steeping} and straining herbs, you can simply place herbs in a tea mug, pour hot water over the herbs, and strain out the herbs after they’ve steeped. There are also many types of infusers and strainers, such as tea balls {mesh or metal balls that hold herbs} with handles or links that hook over the side of the mug, metal tea “spoons,” bamboo tea basket strainers, muslin or mesh bags that you fill with herbs and cinch shut, and cloth bags with round rims and handles that fit on top of a mug. You can also use the same French press that many people use to brew coffee; it consists of a glass cup held by a frame with a handle and a plunger. All of these strainers make it easy to compost your herbs after you’ve made your tea infusion.

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