Attar of Roses

IMG_7286

Fragrant rose petals are used to make a volatile oil or “Attar of Roses.” Which can also be used to make rosewater.  Use only fresh unbruised petals that have been picked in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the strong afternoon sun has warmed them.

Attar of Roses

Ingredients:

2-3 cups fresh rose petals

Coarse salt such as sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

Make sure the rose petals are clean and dry.  You may gently wash them with cool water and dry them between a layer of cotton towel or paper towels.  Place a layer of the petals inside a clean ceramic crock or large glass jar.  Over each layer sprinkle a thin layer of salt just covering the petals. Repeat this process until the jar is full.  Cover your container tightly and place in a cool, dark spot for several weeks (3-6 weeks). The salt extras the moisture from the petals which should collect in the bottom of your jar.  Strain the liquid through a coffee filter or several layers of cheese cloth. This is your scented attar of roses.  To make fresh rosewater, add a drop or two of this oil to one cup of distilled water.

Yield 1-2 ounces

 

Note save the scented salt and use in bath soak recipes or salt scrubs.

 

Fresh rose petals can also be dried and added to bath salts, sugar scrubs and facial cleanser recipes.  They are natural astringent and cleansing.

 

Have a beautiful day,

Janice

 

Celebrate Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!  This weekend celebrate and honor your Mom with a  bit of self care for both her and yourself.  Taking time out to be thankful for the Mother you had or have is important.  Many of the qualities we love (and ones that drive us crazy) came from our Mother.  Here are a few easy DIY self care gifts you can whip up at home to tell Mom how beautiful she is to you:

Herbal Bath Salts

Add your favorite dried herbs or flower petals to a jar of pure epsom salts.  Tie up with a pretty bow and let Mom take a long relaxing soak.  You can also package with her favorite tea or a new book for her to read in the tub.

_DSC0032

Dream Pillow

Stitch together a little fabric pillow and fill with relaxing herbs such as lavender or hops that Mom can tuck under her pillow at night or place on her bedside tables.

IMG_E5769.JPG

Breakfast in Bed

IMG_2284

This is a classic Mother’s day gift that never gets old — Here is an easy recipe for lavender scones that taste as beautiful as they look.

IMG_7828

Lavender Scones 

Ingredients 

3 cups flour

3 /4 cup sugar

1 T baking powder

1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers

1 /2 teaspoon baking soda

3 /4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together dried ingredients. Add butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse flour.  I do this with my hands but you can use a fork or spoon.  Stir in buttermilk and vanilla and mix until you have a rough dough.  Knead 5 times on floured board and form into two rounds.  Cut into 8 triangles and arrange on cookie sheet (I use parchment paper on sheet).  Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until golden brown 12 to 15 minutes.  Let cool

File: 16 scones

 

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

xoxo Janice

 

Growing and Using Luffa Sponges

DSC_0238

I just got home from Asheville, NC and the Mother Earth News Fair where I gave a talk on “How to grow and use Luffa Sponges”  Here is some of the information I presented. Many people are surprised and delighted to learn that a luffa is not a sea sponge but a plant in the cucumber family that can easily be grown in your own home garden.

They are super easy to grow and just need sunshine, water and a place to climb — In about 90 days you will have a full grown gourd that when soaked in water and peeled becomes the bath sponge or household scrubber we have all come to know and love.

There is an excellent article in the March/ April issue of Mother Earth Living Magazine written by Hannah Kincaid, Editor-in-chief.

Luffa seeds can be ordered online and found at most garden shops near the gourds.  I recently discovered The Luffa Ranch in Murphy, NC and they too are a source of seeds and all things Luffa.

Start your seeds indoors and plant outside when there is no chance of frost for most locations this is around Mother’s Day in May.

DSC_0274

Soaking and clipping your seeds also helps them germinate and sprout sooner.  I would recommend doing this.

Give your luffas plenty of sunshine and water and a place to climb and in the Fall you should have sponges ready for harvest.  They should turn brown and you can hear the seeds rattle around inside.

Soak your luffas and peel off their outer skin inside you will have the fibrous skeleton that is used to cleanse your skin.  Make sure you keep your luffa super clean and dry between uses.  you can clean your luffa in a pot of boiling water, in the dishwasher or in the washing machine when you wash your towels.

DSC_0259

Here is a simple luffa cleanser you can make with the green outer peels of the young plants.

Green Luffa Skin Cleanser

1 cup green luffa peels

1 tablespoon aloe vera gel

1 teaspoon raw honey

1-2 tablespoons water

  • Blend together. To use: Massage into damp skin.

DSC_0224

DSC_0226

You can also make a simple sugar scrub using grated luffa — simply grate dried luffa with a kitchen cheese grater.  Here is the recipe:

Soothing Luffa Sugar Scrub

1 cup raw sugar

1 /4 cup almond oil

1 /2 teaspoon vitamin E oil

2 Tablespoons grated, dried luffa

  • Stir together. To use: Massage into damp skin

DSC_0243

DSC_0247

 

I hope you try growing luffa this year and if you do — send me photos of your garden and how you are enjoying your plants!  I will check back in the fall when I harvest mine this is what they look like right now

DSC_0275.JPG

Happy Growing!

xoxo Janice