How to Make an Herb-Infused Oil from This Organic Life

 
Herbs are great for so many things: teas, salves, cooking, tinctures, lip balms, and adorning our homes with beautiful aromas.

In honor of my upcoming grand opening of Original Organics Herbal, my Etsy shop in which I’ll be selling handmade herbal products from organic & wildcrafted ingredients including lip balms, natural sunscreen, essential oils perfumes, and more, I’m sharing how to make an herb-infused oil to be used in such products. 

 

Where to Get Herbs

It’s surprisingly EASY to make an oil featuring your favorite herbs.  The “hard” part is having access to high-quality herbs.  Here are a few ways to come by herbs for your herb-infused oil:

Grow Them

Many herbs are actually quite simple to grow as long as you have the space. If you’re new to gardening, starting an herb garden is a fun and rewarding (and easy!) entry point into this sometimes daunting world.  Pots also work decently well but over time herbs like to be planted in the earth so they can come back year after year (if they’re perennial) and/or stretch their roots far and wide.

Wild Forage

Perhaps surprisingly to you, many herbs or plants that are healthiest and most medicinal can be found growing wildly!  If you have access to land where the owner(s) will let you forage, you can find a myriad of goodies – from red clover to raspberry leaves, dandelion to nettle – nature abounds with some of the most nutrient-dense plants around.  One option is to contact local farmers to see if they would let you forage around their property.  Some of these farmers may even have an excess of herbs like comfrey that are used to companion-plant within apple orchards and make a wonderful addition to any skincare product (and this also happens to be the herb I’m featuring in this how-to)

Purchase

When I’m not able to grow my own or forage for herbs for my products, I source them primarily from Mountain Rose Herbs.   

They have a wide variety of high-quality herbs in bulk at affordable prices.  Here’s a quick peek at some of their herbs in the “A” section:

Bulk Herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs

 

I also purchase Starwest Botanicals from Amazon.  Like Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals has a wonderful assortment of bulk herbs, many of which are organic and at a discounted rate.  Also, if you have Amazon Prime, you can get free 2-day shipping on their items!

 

Making an Herb-Infused Oil

There are two primary methods to making an herb-infused oil.  One is the solar method, which uses the sun to infuse the oil over time.  Another method is by heating rapidly over the stove, which takes place in a couple of hours.  The method I’m covering in this post is the solar method, because it’s just so darn easy!

 

Ingredients/Materials

How to Make an Herb-Infused Oil from This Organic Life 
32 oz glass jar (like these

Cheesecloth (like this)

Dried herbs of choice (I used comfrey for this recipe)

Extra virgin olive oil (like this)

 

Directions

How to Make an Herb-Infused Oil from This Organic Life1.) Finely grind thoroughly dried herbs (oil & water don’t mix, so be sure all moisture is out of the herbs) and fill clean jar with desired amount (see step #2 for herb:oil ratio).

 

How to Make an Herb-Infused Oil from This Organic Life

2.) Using a ratio of 1:2 (Herb:Oil), add oil to the jar, covering the herbs fully and being sure that the oil goes at least 2″ above the herbs.

 

How to Make an Herb-Infused Oil from This Organic Life

3.) Cover jar with lid tightly and place in a sunny windowsill.  Shake the jar a couple of times per day.  If the herbs soak up all the oil, simply add more.  Allow herb to infuse for 2-6 weeks, or until you notice the oil taking on the color and scent of the herb.

 

4.) Once your herb-infused oil is ready, strain herb material using a cheesecloth so only the oil remains.  Store oil in sterilized jar in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

 

 

How to Make an Herb-Infused Oil from This Organic Life

 

 

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life

This. rice. is. great.  Okay, let me clarify something right away, though.  This will not taste like rice as we/you know it.  What makes this rice, well, rice is how we are preparing it, the texture and style it takes on, and how we decide to treat (eat) it as a food.  There, now let’s move on.  

So, as I was saying. . . this is great rice.  Part of why it is so great/lovely/delicious is that it’s cauliflower. AND IT’S RICE.  I have always sort of appreciated cauliflower for it’s white broccoli-ness (I really did have a friend that, upon seeing cauliflower for the first time, exclaimed, “I didn’t know they made white broccoli!”) but haven’t done much with it other than munching on it raw in salads or sautéed and/or roasting it for the occasional (read: every night and for leftovers, too) curry dish. 

Needless to say, when I heard you can do other things with cauliflower that involve disguising them as non-cauliflower, I was pretty excited to jump on board.  When I heard you can rice-ify cauliflower. . . well, it was a good day.  THEN, when I learned how easy it is to make, I decided to share my recipe and experience with you lovely folks.

 

Ingredients

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life

1 head cauliflower

1 small bunch cilantro, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 onion, diced

1 tbsp coconut oil, for sauteeing 

Salt & pepper, to taste

 

Directions

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life

1.) After washing and draining cauliflower, tear into small florets and put in *food processor (half at a time for easy processing) & pulse until it looks rice-like, like this:

*Note: if you don’t have a food processor, don’t give up!  You can still make cauli rice by grating larger florets (so easier to hold/manage) of cauliflower until they look like this:

 

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life

This picture shows some of my florets a bit large-ish. I pulsed the food processor a few more times to break up the pieces and create more of a small rice size.

 

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life

2.) Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon (-ish; you can add more or less as you like) of coconut oil on low in sauté pan/skillet.  

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life

3.) Once pan is heated, first add garlic & onion to sauté for a few minutes, then add cauliflower rice from food processor & remaining ingredients (cilantro, salt & pepper) and sauté for another 5 minutes or so until rice begins to turn a slight golden brown color.  

I happen to think the more the cilantro, the better for this recipe.  So 1 small bunch really means as much as I can handle.

And you’re done!

Feel free to eat alone or top with your favorite curry dish.  Double, triple, quadruple the recipe to your heart’s content.

Cilantro Garlic Cauliflower Rice via This Organic Life
How do you enjoy cauliflower?
Did you try this recipe? What did you think?

Share in the comments below!

 

Guide to the Best Homesteading Resources via This Organic Life

 

This guide is for homesteaders, gardeners, creators, healthy-livers, homemakers, farmers, do-it-yourselfers, sustainability enthusiast (ers), and anyone that dreams of being one of these “-ers.” 

Below you will find online resources like guides to local farms and co-ops, the best gardening books, recommended homesteading blogs, and where to shop for all your homesteading needs.

 

Online Guides/Resources

Local Harvest - find the closest organic farm, farmers market, or other suppliers of local products.

Eat Well Guide – similar to Local Harvest; search for a variety of stores, farmers, co-ops, organizations and other sustainably-minded local folk.

Better World Shopper Guide - see how some of your favorite companies & products rank in the topics of human rights, the environment, animal protection, community involvement, and social justice.  

Garden Planner – lay out your garden plan online and choose from lots of veggies, fruits, and even buildings to add in to create a visual of how your garden will look.

Vegetable Growing Guide – the Old Farmer’s Almanac shares this plant-by-plant resource of commonly-grown vegetables.  In it you will find the USDA Hardiness Zone each plant does well in, what kind of soil it likes, sun exposure, and other pertinent growing details.

Homesteader Hub - THE place for homesteaders to connect with other homesteaders, livestock breeders, feed mills, certified kitchens, and more to foster community and learning.

 

Books

General Homesteading/Self-Sufficiency/Rural Living:


Gardening/Farming:


Cooking:


Preservation & Fermentation:


Natural Building/Renewable Energy


Simple Living:

 

Shopping

Mountain Rose Herbs - For high-quality herbal supplies from teas to bulk organic herbs & spices to basically any ingredient you need to make your own natural products.

zulily - This online shopping hub may not look very homesteader-friendly at first glance.  But dig a little deeper and you’ll find deals on gardening supplies, kitchen gadgets, organic clothing & snacks, and other goods for the natural life at a fraction of the typical cost.  You may not hit the jackpot right away, but check back every couple of days and they refresh their inventory with new brands from Juil shoes to Synergy Organic Clothing to Burts Bees Baby and even Carhartt

Johnny’s – One of my favorite sources for organic seeds, Johnny’s also has some of the best farming tools – from stirrup hoes to row cover to natural pest management materials, it’s an organic farmer’s best friend.

Green Polka Dot Box - Join this buying club that gives access to healthy, non-GMO products at great deals.  It features organic food, natural body products, and even things for your pets!

Vitacost - Offers wonderful deals on overstock natural goods including supplements, shampoo, food, and essential oils.

Amazon – Amazon is actually a wonderful resource for homesteading tools – from canning supplies, to gardening tools

Craigslist - I’m pretty sure this is a well-known resource.  But in case you haven’t heard of Craigslist, it’s like an online classifieds that includes listings for local job opportunities, used items for sale,  real estate for sale or rent, and even potentially the future love of your life.  

Freecycle - Like Craigslist but everything featured is free!  People share things on here that they would otherwise put on their curb like old furniture, random car parts, etc.  There are some great finds on here depending on where you live.

 

Blogs

The Prairie Homestead

Fresh Eggs Daily

Nourished Kitchen

Faulk Farmstead

Attainable Sustainable

Homestead Honey

Untrained Housewife

Common Sense Homesteading

Voice from the Bush

Blue Yurt Farms

Five Little Homesteaders

Ever Growing Farm

Little Mountain Haven

 

Cream-15Off 3

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups (Healthy & Homemade) via This Organic Life

Rhubarb is one of the happiest sights around a garden in spring.  It tends to be the first colorful edible that produces after the snow melt, the first sign that spring is really here, the first non-green colored goodness.  Its lovely bright pinks and tangy bursts of flavor are welcome breaks in the dreary and drab following winter.

When I think of rhubarb, I think of rhubarb crisps, cobblers, pies and other home-baked goods.  This year, though, instead of heading right for the oven, I decided to turn my sights toward my food dehydrator.

 

What else is rhubarb good for?  A healthy version of the ever-popular fruit rollup!  I’m so excited to share this recipe with you, because not only is it delicious and healthy at the same time, but it’s also incredibly easy to make with three basic ingredients: rhubarb, strawberries, and honey.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups via This Organic Life

Ingredients:

3 cups rhubarb (chopped, prior to cooking down)

2 cups strawberries

2 tablespoons honey


Directions:

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups via This Organic Life

1.) Wash & chop rhubarb into small, even chunks

2.) Put chopped rhubarb in saucepan with enough water to cover it and heat on low for about 10 minutes, until rhubarb is softened

3.) Once rhubarb is softened, drain as much water as possible from pan.  Then let cool so it isn’t too hot to touch and strain the remainder of the water from rhubarb with a cheesecloth (this is the kind I use).  

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups via This Organic Life

4.) With an immersion blender (I love this one), blend the rhubarb until it is soft and creamy, then add strawberries and blend until both are well combined.  Do the same with the honey until the entire mixture is blended fully.

If you have a food dehydrator:

5.) Pour onto food dehydrator (like this) and spread evenly across tray to about 1/4″ thickness.  This for me was the hard part!  I used a silicone spatula to help spread evenly.  Dehydrate at 130° for about 4 hours, or until the leather no longer feels moist to the touch and is a bit sticky and able to peel off the tray easily.

If you don’t have a food dehydrator:

5.) Pour pureed mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cook at 200° for about 2-3 hours.  The amount of time it takes to dehydrate will depend on how much moisture is in the puree.  If it has more moisture, it will take longer to dehydrate.  Remove from oven when the fruit leather no longer feels moist to the touch and is a bit sticky.  If it is easy to remove from the parchment paper, this is also a good sign that it’s ready.

*Important: If the leather dehydrates for too long, it will become crunchy, like fruit chips rather than leather.

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups via This Organic Life

6.) Tear into pieces (as large or as small as you want!) and roll loosely.  (To make 8 fruit rollups, I tore the two trays of dried fruit that this recipe filled into 4 pieces each).

Enjoy stored in an air-tight container for up to a few weeks – if you can even wait that long to eat them all :)

Makes about 8 fruit rollups 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups via This Organic Life

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Rollups
Yields 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups rhubarb (chopped, prior to cooking down)
  2. 2 cups strawberries
  3. 2 tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. 1.) Wash & chop rhubarb into small, even chunks
  2. 2.) Put chopped rhubarb in saucepan with enough water to cover it and heat on low for about 10 minutes, until rhubarb is softened
  3. 3.) Once rhubarb is softened, drain as much water as possible from pan. Then let cool so it isn't too hot to touch and strain the remainder of the water from rhubarb with a cheesecloth (this is the kind I use).
  4. 4.) With an immersion blender (I love this one), blend the rhubarb until it is soft and creamy, then add strawberries and blend until both are well combined. Do the same with the honey until the entire mixture is blended fully.
If you have a food dehydrator
  1. 5.) Pour onto food dehydrator and spread evenly across tray to about 1/4" thickness. This for me was the hard part! I used a silicone spatula to help spread evenly. Dehydrate at 130° for about 4 hours, or until the leather no longer feels moist to the touch and is a bit sticky and able to peel off the tray easily.
If you don't have a food dehydrator
  1. 5.) Pour pureed mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook at 200° for about 2-3 hours. The amount of time it takes to dehydrate will depend on how much moisture is in the puree. If it has more moisture, it will take longer to dehydrate. Remove from oven when the fruit leather no longer feels moist to the touch and is a bit sticky. If it is easy to remove from the parchment paper, this is also a good sign that it's ready.
  2. *Important: If the leather dehydrates for too long, it will become crunchy, like fruit chips rather than leather.
  3. 6.) Tear into pieces (as large or as small as you want!) and roll loosely. (To make 8 fruit rollups, I tore the two trays of dried fruit that this recipe filled into 4 pieces each).
  4. Enjoy stored in an air-tight container for up to a few weeks - if you can even wait that long to eat them all :)
This Organic Life http://www.thisoriginalorganiclife.com/
 

 

7 Reasons to Join a CSA via This Organic Life

Top image

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture.  A CSA farm is a farm that grows produce (and perhaps fruit, herbs, flowers, and other items) for a set number of members who “subscribe” to receive a share of in-season items every week in the growing season.  Here in Minnesota, our CSAs typically start in early June and run through October.  Usually a share can feed a family of 4 the veggies they’d eat for a week (give or take), but this depends on the farm and the size of the share they offer.  It also depends on how much you eat vegetables!  

CSA members typically pay up-front for their vegetables with the understanding that they are investing in the farm as members.  This means that if something happens to a crop (like the unthinkable destruction via pests or disease), they agree that they’re in it with the farmer and usually, the farmer makes it up to them in other ways with other crops that are abundant.

 

Why Join a CSA?

1.) Eat Healthy

Assuming you’re eating the produce that comes in your CSA share, you’re giving yourself a nice dose of high-quality, nutrient dense food.  Not only is it healthy to eat your veggies, but

Marinated Kale & Veggie Salad

having a wide variety as found in CSA shares is also an important contributor to health. 

Though there’s been speculation about whether organically-grown food has a higher nutrition content than conventionally-grown food, we know that the presence of antibiotics and chemical pesticides in our food has a negative impact on human health.  Some studies have found that organic vegetables have a higher antioxidant content than their conventionally-raised counterparts (source).

 

2.) Experiment with New Foods

Kohlrabi. Mizuna. Celeriac. (And bears). Oh my!

You may get some crazy-sounding veggies that you’ve never heard of, but (at least to me) that’s part of the adventure!  How often do we go to the grocery store and pick out the same things week after week, make the same dishes, and stick to what’s familiar?  I know I can get stuck in that rut, which is exactly why I love CSAs.  You get what’s in season, and with that, you get the excitement of working with and eating foods you’ve never tried before or rarely come into contact with otherwise.  

Don’t worry, most CSAs share recipes in their weekly newsletters.  I also recommend the cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchiniwhich has recipes listed by vegetable to help with cooking farm fresh veggies!

3.) Save Money

While a CSA subscription may feel like a lot of money up front (and it is), with the average CSA costing around $400-$600 for an 18-20 week subscription, you end up only spending around $30 per week on vegetables.

Also, since your vegetables are fresher than fresh, they will often last longer than store-bought produce, leading to less waste.

There are also other countless, invaluable benefits, including the 6 other ones I’ve highlighted here :)

 

4.) Know Where Your Food Comes From

BeanOnce commonplace, knowing where our food comes from is now a novelty that can be hard to come by.  If you aren’t able to grow your own garden or simply can’t grow enough to meet your family’s needs, joining a CSA (or shopping at farmers markets!) is the next best thing.  Not only can you participate in some of the growing of this food, but you can trust and know that it’s in good hands from seed to harvest.  

Of course, this requires a bit of research on our part as consumers, and not all CSAs are created equal, but once you find one that resonates with your values and expectations, you can dine in peace.

 

5.) Support the Local Economy

This is an important one for many.  It has been found that at least twice the amount of money stays within our local communities when we buy products locally vs. not locally (source).

We can build strong local communities buy supporting local farmers, artisans, and other creators/producers that contribute to meeting our needs.  If there is an option to purchase something locally rather than a “Made in China” product, please consider the local item, even if it may cost a bit more.  The money invested locally always comes back around and is an investment not just in the company or person we’re purchasing from, but also in our own families.

 

6.) Build Community

One of my favorite perks of being a CSA member (or in my case, a CSA farmer), is the focus on community.  CSAs started so that consumers could really connect with the farm and the farmers, to really know where their food is coming from and how it’s grown.  Being a CSA member means you are literally a part of the farm.  

While some farms invite members to engage more or less than others, there are usually opportunities for connection including a harvest festival or potluck at some point throughout the season, times when you can volunteer on the farm (often in exchange for a chunk of change off your share!), and weekly newsletters that keep you connected to the happenings on the farm.

 

7.) Preserve & Store Your Own Food

Aside from the sense of productivity and accomplishment preserving our Picklesown food can give 
us, it is also a practical thing to do for health, financial, and preparedness reasons.  

Preserving excess produce from the farm when it’s in abundance is a great way to be able to enjoy things like tomatoes year-round without buying them from places like China.  

Many methods of preservation also enhance healthfulness found in foods, as fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles are high in probiotics.

 

Do you know of other benefits of joining a CSA?  

Please share your stories & ideas in the comments below!

 

Tasty Food Photography eBook

 

Win a Sustainability Survival Kit from This Organic Life


I’m so excited to introduce my June giveaway in collaboration with lots of my amazing fellow homestead bloggers.

The best part about this giveaway is that you have a chance to win not only what I am giving away, but you can visit the 16 other blogs listed below to enter to win their homestead giveaway prizes as well!

By entering below, you will have the opportunity to win my Sustainability Survival Kit, which includes the following goodies:

Reusable Bamboo Travel Utensil Set: http://amzn.to/QU4ibj

Set of 5 Reusable Produce Bags: http://amzn.to/1jUw0kc

Set of 4 Stainless Steel Drinking Straws: http://amzn.to/1qLz1bq
 

Enter to Win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:

One winner will be chosen via random.org. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Monday, June 9th, 2014. This giveaway is for the 3 items included in the Sustainability Survival Kit provided by This Organic Life.  You must enter separately for a chance to win the other items from blogs participating in the Amazing Homesteading Giveaway (See below for more details).

The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name, address, and phone number. There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

 homesteadgiveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs participating in this giveaway for chances to win other awesome homestead resources and materials:

Blue Yurt Farms - Two gardening books
Eat Play Love More - Great stainless steel containers
Ever Growing Farm - Two books from Root Simple
Faulk Farmstead - Two great inspiring homestead books
Green Eggs and Goats - Two useful homestead books
Grow a Good Life - Great kitchen scale, perfect for canning
ImaginAcres - The perfect start to your herbal tea garden
The Jahner Farmstead - Canning supplies
Learning and Yearning - Amazing enrichment products for your garden
Linn Acres Farm - Two farming and preserving books
Little Big Harvest - Amazing mandoline slicer and grater
Reformation Acres - Super-handy immersion blender, your choice of color
The Toups Address - Lodge pre-seasoned grill pan, perfect for all kinds of meals
Timber Creek Farm - Pewter & sterling homesteader charm bracelet, handmade in the US
Whistle Pig Hollow - Handy stoneware grease keeper (perfect for bacon grease!)
Winterstead - Beginner’s guide to homemade holistic health & beauty

 

Good Luck!

 

Tasty Food Photography eBook

 

Mountain Rose Herbs

Mason Jar Blender via This Organic Life #masonjar #canningjar #thingstodowithmasonjars #makeyourown #diy


Another Amazing Thing to Do with A Mason Jar:

Mason Jar Blender via This Organic Life #masonjar #canningjar #thingstodowithmasonjars #makeyourown #diy

A few notes:
This likely won’t work with every blender.  I tested the mason jar/blender combo by putting ice & water into it and testing on low.  Once that worked, I tested it on high and then finally added the smoothie ingredients and all was well!  

 
Resources:

     

 

Mountain Rose Herbs

 

Tasty Food Photography eBook    

Healthy Homemade Rosemary Garlic Crackers via This Organic Life

Crackers make the heart grow fonder . . . or something like that.  Really, crackers are one of my favorite semi-guilty pleasures.  Thanks to this healthy recipe, though, the guilt is minimal, especially because making your own crackers saves on grocery bills as well.  

This recipe combines just a few simple ingredients that many of us likely have laying around our kitchens already to make delicious rosemary garlic crackers.


 

Ingredients

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon (or as much as you fancy!) dried rosemary

2 cloves garlic

1.5 teaspoon salt

steps 1

1.) Start by adding the dry ingredients – flour, rosemary, salt – to a mixing bowl and mixing (with a whisk or mixer) until well combined.

2.) Then add in the the wet ingredients – yogurt, butter at room temperature, and minced garlic – and mix once more.

3.) This is just a lovely progress picture :)

4.) Now, once the ingredients are all combined, you should have a nice stretchy dough.  At this point, shape the dough into a ball, place into a bowl, cover with a tight lid, and let rise at (warm) room temperature for about 10 hours.

steps 2

5.) After your dough rises for about 10 hours, divide it into several small portions, then roll each portion out on a flat, floured surface to about 1/8″ thickness (for heartier crackers) or 1/16″ thickness for more typical crackers.


6.) Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into about 1″x1″ squares (or whatever size you’d like your crackers to be!) Continue this until you’ve cut all your dough into your cracker shapes.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450° and prepare baking sheets by either lining them with parchment paper or applying butter to them.

7.) Using a fork (or chopstick as I’ve done here), *poke the squares with several holes (*note: this photo shows only 1 hole if you want a cute mock Cheezit look.  I suggest adding several holes, like poking with a fork 3 times).

8.) Carefully arrange your soon-to-be crackers on the baking sheets, about 1/2″ – 1″ apart.

9.) Brush a bit of melted butter to the tops of your cracker squares.

10.) (not pictured) Bake for about 8 minutes, or until crackers are a slight goldish-brown color around the edges.  Let cool, remove gently from pan, and store in airtight container for up to a couple of weeks. Most importantly . . .

Enjoy! Healthy Homemade Rosemary Garlic Crackers via This Organic Life

 

Tasty Food Photography eBook

 

7 Natural Allergy Remedies via This Organic Life

 

Oh, spring.  We await its arrival for months, looking forward to seeing sunshine, greenery, and sidewalks once again. Yet for some 18 million American adults (source), this much anticipated season stirs up allergies to tree, grass, and weed pollens, among other things.  

This season my allergies are at an all-time high.  I went for a full week earlier this month thinking I must – must – be sick because of how poorly I felt.  Low energy, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, barely being able to breath out of my nose – nope, these were definitely allergies I was (and still am) experiencing.


Those of us who deal with allergies know that it feels like we have to choose between enjoying our newfound spring barefooted freedom while sneezing our noses off, or breathing easy by staying inside until the pollen subsides. 

The good news is that we can have our barefooted freedom and our easy breathing too.  There are plenty of ways to relieve allergies, and I’ve rounded up 7 of my favorite natural remedies to allergies here:

 Stinging Nettle via This Organic Life

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a wonderful allergy-fighter.  It’s a natural antihistamine that is very effective for allergy relief if taken regularly.  

Try nettle as a tea, in capsule form, or as an ingredient in some of your favorite foods.

 

 

 Local Honey

Consuming honey from our local environment can actually help our bodies adapt to allergens.  This works because bees travel from flower to flower, collecting pollen spores along the way.  These pollen spores wind up in their honey, which, if eaten in moderation daily, can help us build up immunity through gradual exposure to the pollen.

 

Neti Pot

From Mother Earth News:

Just last year, an Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy andNeti Pot for Allergy Relief via This Organic Life Immunology found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.

As I mentioned, my allergies this year have been rough.  After it hit me that it was allergies  and not some sickness, I pulled out my trusty Neti pot.  Here’s a great tutorial with photos on how to use one if you’ve not yet.

I could only use it for 5-10 seconds before having to blow my nose.  I won’t go into detail on the stuff that came out.  Let’s just say it used up lots of tissues. . . and woke my husband up. 

Anyway, here’s the Neti pot I use and love it (it’s also great for colds) :

 

Air Filter 

Even when we’re indoors, allergies can still find their way in, so having something within the home to actually filter out allergens can be really helpful for those who experience allergies pretty intensely.  

A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) air filter like this one actually pull allergens such as pet dander, dust, pollutants, and other environmental allergens from the air.   


Bee Pollen

Similar to local honey, actually ingesting bee pollen can ameliorate allergies.  It’s also an overall immune booster and supports digestive and respiratory health.  AND it’s 40% protein – interesting, huh?

From Mercola.com:

According to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia, “Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. Pollen is extremely rich in rutin and may have the highest content of any source, plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”

If this sounds crazy to you or you’ve never heard of anyone taking bee pollen, fear not, it weirded me out at first too!

I add it to smoothies mostly, but you can also take it in powder form mixed with water.  Here’s the kind I use:

Just be aware about how much you take: it’s recommended to take up to one teaspoon daily for allergy prevention, but we’re all different so start with a little and see how you feel.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar as Allergy Relief via This Organic LifeApple Cider Vinegar

As if this stuff isn’t magical enough, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is also a natural allergy reliever.  Because of its ability to cleanse the lymphatic system and reduce mucous production, ACV is useful in remedying allergies.

 

Essential Oils

Essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus can be a lifesaver when it comes to allergy relief.  Anyone who’s had a cold or any kind of sinus suppressing sickness (say that three times fast) knows that these two can be your best friends when it comes to opening up your nasal passage.  Eucalyptus is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  Peppermint is a decongestant and expectorant, meaning it aids in breaking up mucous and clearing your sinuses.

Simply holding a bottle up to your nose and inhaling in the oils can do the trick, or try using an essential oil diffuser to spread the gentle, healing properties around your home.  

 

Tasty Food Photography eBook

Where to Buy Organic Clothing via This Organic Life

 

It can be really tough to find decent clothing that is well-made, good for the environment, and follows practices that are humane for its employees and creators.  I have recently fallen in love with a brand that meets all of these criteria and happens to have really cute wears that fit my casual lifestyle.


 


Synergy Organic Clothing
 has a plethora of items to choose from – yoga pants, cute & casual dresses, skirts & shirts with unique appliqué designs, and comfy & functional outerwear.  Most of their clothing is made primarily of organic cotton and other fabrics that are friendly to the environment and its people.  Here is their mission statement:

Synergy Organic Clothing creates fashion forward clothing and yoga apparel for women. Always striving to be mindful and conscious in every facet of our business, we produce sustainable and organic fair trade clothing that lets you look and feel your best. Radiate effortless style while treading gently on the Earth.

 

I recently Shopping for Organic Clothing via This Organic Lifegot this dress from Synergy and love love it. It’s reversible, 100% organic cotton, super comfy, and can be dressed up for a night out or down for a day at the farmers market.  

Spring’s barely started for us here in Minnesota, but I’ve already gotten a chance to wear it a couple of times and am pretty sure it’s going to be my go-to dress this summer.

The thing with well-made, ecofriendly clothing like this is that each piece is an investment.  I can invest in a high quality product that I will have for years if taken care of, rather than spending $20 on a piece of cheaply-made clothing here and there that will fall apart after a few washes.  


Giveaway

Win $50 to Synergy Organic Clothing via This Organic Life

Because of my newfound love of Synergy, I’m excited to partner with this wonderful company to offer one lucky reader a $50 gift card to spend on their clothing.  

Enter to win by following the directions below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway Terms & Conditions  The winner of this giveaway will be chosen via random.org. This giveaway runs from May 12 - May 26 @ 11:59 PM. The winner will be contacted by email by This Organic Life and will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name, email address, and address. This information will then be passed along to Synergy Organic Clothing and the exchange of $50 gift card will be arranged. There is no purchase necessary to win.