Friday, September 10, 2010
While watering the medicinal herb garden today I noticed that the Lemon Balm was starting to come back after having a hard time all summer because of the severe heat. I decide to harvest some and make one of my favorite drinks which is a cold infusion of the fresh aerial parts of the plant. I take the leaves and stems and crush them a little before stuffing them into a large mason jar, fill with water and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. The only tough part of making this drink is having to wait till its ready! Not only is it delicious but it is extremely good for you, lemon balm is an amazing medicinal plant.
While continuing my watering rounds, I noticed the Sumac berries were starting to dry out so I picked a bunch that were still good to make some Sumac aide. Sumac aide is just plain incredible, I love sour things and this stuff is sour! This is another drink that is best made as a cold infusion as Sumac is high in tannic acid which is water soluble, so, if you use hot water you will leach out too much tannins. The tannins are the medicinal part of the plant and there are times when you need the tannins but you don't want to much when you are drinking large quantities to quench your thirst.
Since I was on a roll and I still had Poke Berries on my mind from yesterday, I decided to experiment a little. One of my hobbies is woodturning and since I played around a little with using the berries as a stain last year, I decide to turn a small vase and see if I could stain it successfully. I found a small piece of Sycamore, which is a very light colored wood which would be perfect to test the stain. I quickly turned a very basic shape and sanded it smooth. I went out with a pair of gloves on to the compost pile where there were a bunch of berries that I missed yesterday. I decided that to get the best color I would not add water to the berries so I squashed them in my hands and squished them onto the vase. The color was unbelievable! I took a rag and wiped it down to even off the color than let it sit out to dry. After it was dry, I sealed it with shellac, sanded it again and then finished it with a high gloss lacquer. I think the color is amazing and I hope it doesn't fade. Only time will tell, after all, that is what the whole experiment was about. If it works, I will use it on some nice pieces.
Posted by Alan at 8:42 PM