Tools of the Trade: What is in My Cabinet
Last week I talked about what non herbal ingredients are in my cabinet. This week, I will talk about the different tools I use to create my remedies and other natural home needs. In our home, we tend to kick it minimal style, so while you can buy all these amazing tools, you don't need to.
Many of these items you will already have in your home! We will start with those first.
Measuring cups and spoons
While I will do "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" in my herbal making, measuring out your herbs will help you be able to recreate a remedy much easier.
Pyrex measuring cups
Glass cups with both ounces and milliliters will prove helpful in all remedy making...from infused oils to tinctures.
I have a 1 cup, 2 cup, and 4 cup.
Canning jars with lids
Useful for everything from storing herbs, to infusing oils, and tinctures. I find that I use pint size jars and quart size jars the most. You can very easily reuse jars (we do that too) that have a lid. If you are tinctures, make sure its watertight otherwise you can spill your tincture when you shake it...or if it tips over.
Electric coffee grinder
While I do have a mortar and pestle, its more for the nostalgia of the trade. An electric coffee grinder, used only for herbs, really helps powder the herbs in short time without some of the hand/arm fatigue that can come from using a mortar and pestle.
Muslin tea bags or mesh tea balls
I prefer muslin tea bags, because they help keep fine cut herbs in (rather than slipping out through the mesh).
When making larger infusions, like an herbal bath, there is no easier way than with a French press. It is also extremely handy for if you need to drink the tea multiple times during the day. Make a big batch in the morning, then your tea is ready for you when you need it.
While this may seem like a no brainer, it is a valuable tool. I NEVER microwave my water for teas, we don't even have a microwave. We have an electric kettle that rapid boils the water AND a stovetop kettle that whistles. I also have a cast iron kettle for ceremony.
Pot for Salves
Beeswax is very difficult to remove completely, so having a pot/pan just for making salves is a smart choice. I found mine at a second hand store and I love it. It has been with me for years now and still makes me smile. This also means that you should designate one wooden spoon for your salve making as well.
Don't use aluminum pots/pans for herbal concocting, it can react negatively with herbs. I prefer stainless steel....and never non-stick.
For making things without beeswax, like syrups, your kitchen pots and pans will work just fine. Make sure you have something for creating a double boiler if you are infusing oils over heat (like for the garlic earache oil).
Fine Mesh Strainer and/or Muslin fabric
For straining out herbs from oils, large infusions, or for syrups. Oddly, I prefer the Gerber style flat diapers...they are a wonderful weave, strong, 100% cotton, and washable. Cheesecloth is sometimes too loosely woven and herb matter will escape.
There is your basic tools of the trade. Like I mentioned earlier, many of the tools you will have in your kitchen already. That makes it so much easier to jump in to making herbal remedies!
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