At last, we have sun! I have been itching to harvest the herbs and flowers in the garden and hedgerows but it has been far too wet. So today I am in overdrive and the house smells divine.
First was the rosewater (recipe here)
The roses are heavy with flowers and there are plenty more buds so I picked about 200g and the kitchen is filled with Radio 4 and the smell of rose petals!
Next was the mint. I have peppermint, spearmint, apple mint and chocolat emint. First was the peppermint
I have already made a large jar of mint sauce and have one jar dried. But that won’t last the winter so in went another batch and I had a cup of tea as well.
The meadowsweet it out, there are fresh nettles growing around the hen house and the lemon balm is going wild as well …
…but there is only so much I can get in the dehydrator. However lemon balm is a good insect repellent, as is basil, which is also going rampant. Their insect repelling action is due to the presence of citronellal (in lemon balm) and citronellal, estragole, limonene and nerolidol, all of which affect the pesky little biters’ sensors and their ability to find their target – namely us.
So while I wait for the mint to finish in the dehydrator here is my very simple insect repellent recipe:
- vodka (or witchazel)
- Lemon balm leaves
- Basil leaves
This is just a basic tincture recipe, and I would normally used vodka to make tinctures and make separate tinctures (simples) and mix later. However, as this is a predetermined mix which will be sprayed on the skin and witch hazel has a soothing effect on the skin I have opted to used it instead of vodka and mix the herbs in the jar.
Pack the herbs into the jar, cover with witch hazel, seal and label and date (you will not remember what it is, I promise you) and leave for two weeks in a cool dark cupboard. Then strain and keep in a dark jar. When needed fill a small spray bottle half full with the herb tincture, top up with water, that is it!
Love Gillie x