Mushroom Powder Experiment

In a post by “Fern and Fungi” they talked about making mushroom powder. I had a container of dried mushrooms from Costco and it gave me the idea to try it myself! The mushrooms were different and I didn’t forage them myself but I was hoping to make something similar. More to add the mushroom flavor I love to our food more than anything else with these particular mushrooms. My plan is to add the powder to sauces, bread, soups, etc. I already use the liquid used to rehydrate these mushrooms in meals so why not add it all?

Screenshots I took:

I thought the mushrooms might not be dry enough to powder and it was suggested in a group I help run that I dry them more. I decided to precut them with scissors before I did this to get them dried more evenly in smaller bits. However, I found most crumbling with the rough handling and scissors. So instead I added maybe 1 cup or so at a time to our Vitamix to blend and blended it on high. Emptying after each cup of whole pieces. Worked great! I’d say if you wanted it finer you could sift it but this works for us.

The bit left in this container made quite a bit of powder! I think this will last us longer than throwing in a bunch of mushrooms when I need a last minute addition to a meal. It also made the mushrooms more versatile in a sense instead of just a chewy ingredient in a typical soup or stir fry.

I’m hoping this year to forage more for mushrooms (come on morels!) and buy locally at farmers markets to dry myself for future powders. Making the powder much more nutritional than just for taste. This was a super easy and simple way to get started though! Just watch out for clouds of powder when you take the blender lid off!

I included pictures of the container of mushrooms I purchased at the end for those curious. Not the ideal mushrooms for anything other than good flavor. I put some in leftover soup tonight along with dried nettle and it deepened the flavor and made it more rich. Very satisfying dish!


Turmeric Powder Tincture 

When I first met my now husband he introduced me to herbs to help with skin issues. He suffered a skin injury that required almost a year of medical attention but wanted to help his skin in any way he could. So he looked to herbs. The best way to get the herbs he chose to help in his opinion was to ingest them. Now we use many of the herbs he loved in our food and tisanes frequently. Turmeric is one we go through a lot of. It helps with inflammation and many skin issues are the product of other health problems such as this. Check out the link at the end of this post for more in depth information.

When a neighbor/friend asked if I wanted her bag of turmeric she didn’t like (it has a peppery taste that isn’t appetizing to some) I started brewing up ideas for usage. More than putting it in almost everything we eat. Which poses an issue with my toddler who ends up staining her clothes with any food saturated with it. I decided the first thing I wanted to make with it was a tincture. 

Most recipes I found suggested using the root. Fresh or dried in slices to help the alcohol base saturate it more easily. Well, I didn’t have a root. I had powder. So I did a 1:5 concoction to test it out. 1 part turmeric powder to 5 parts alcohol. It worked great! It was also really fun to work with and see the lovely color changes. The powder is a gorgeous yellow color and once it settled it created a red hued liquid. Later I saw it was more orange when not stacked the way it was but still lovely. 

One small pint jar creates a ton of tincture in my opinion. So unless you have a large family using it, are taking the tincture several times a day or are creating to share this should work great to start with. I filled two 2 oz dropper bottles to last me a while and barely made a dent in the tincture. I left the rest to continue brewing until I needed to strain some off again for use. 

This is what I used: 

I filled roughly 1/5 of the jar with powdered turmeric then filled it up with the alcohol.

After mixing gently and being sure to scrape any bits off the bottom I noticed the amount of product went down.

So I topped it off with a bit more alcohol. 

Then I added the lid and shook it up! Making sure to get any clumps out. 

It WILL settle and you will notice that it may look something like this:

It will definitely still brew perfectly fine so no worries! What you need to do though is shake vigorously every day at least once until the day before you decide to strain it. 

Typically, you would leave this for 14 days then let it rest on the 15th day before straining. That’s the bare minimum needed. I let mine brew for almost 3 months. Many saw the longer the better with tinctures. 

When the time came to strain I got out my sterilized bottles, a funnel, a bowl to catch any spillage, a measuring cup and a magic eraser sponge because I’m bound to spill something! 

I poured off some of the liquid from my jar into a measuring cup. Purely for the ease of pouring from it. I made sure to let the jar settle so I would get the least amount of powder in as possible. You can strain your concoction if you wish but I found that powders can be tricky business to work with. So I decided to use just the liquid from the top of the jar. 

Once I filled my bottles I put the leftover tincture back in the jar to save for a future pour. Letting it continue to brew.

I put some in my iced tea to test out immediately. A few drops definitely effects the flavor! If it’s too much to sip a drink with it then use the dropper to squirt directly into your mouth then chase with a drink or food if needed. Or add it to your food. 15-30 drops a day up to four times a day is the highest recommended dosage. Though I am not a doctor or certified herbalist so please do your own research! 

I then labeled my bottles and put the jar back in the dark cupboard. 

For an in depth look at the uses and side effects of turmeric feel free to check out this article:

Eyebright Infused Oil – Magical and Mundane Herbalism

I finished this oil the other day. I didn’t originally intend for it to be a blog post seeing as its use for me personally is purely magical. Nothing to really do with heathenry or homesteading. Seeing as my blog is mostly recipes and how to’s however I changed my mind. When I can get back to learning more self sufficiency promoting skills I will blog about them! 

I have found that many Heathens I personally speak to and have friendships with have some sort of magical practice they either incorporate into their faith or keep to the side. Separate in most ways other than the type of magic you would find in ritual. I am the same as I have stated in older blogs. With this particular entry I will be going over Eyebright infused oil and some usages. Both magical and mundane.

Eyebright is used medicinally for…you guessed it! Eye health! Inflammation, disorders, styes, etc. The entire plant above the roots are used medicinally. It is full of antioxidants, violate oils, vitamins (such as B, C and E), tannins and more to aid in much more than just eye health! It’s popular use as a supplement made it both easy and difficult to find. Powder stuffed capsules are found in any health food store and often even at large grocery stores. They are even found online easily on sites such as Amazon, as an ingredient in pre-made concoctions, etc. Finding the powder (I would have preferred it not be powdered but I wanted anything at that point in my search) alone proved much more difficult. I found some on sites I wasn’t sure were legitimate and for oddly priced bags on Amazon. I almost gave up until I found it at our co-op in the herbs section. It was powdered as usual but I was happy to see it. My husband prepared a bagful for me and we went on our way. So even though I could find it pre-prepared the thought of wasting so much plastic and the gelatin capsules bothered me. Also, who has time to pop open those things individually? This parent does not! 

Some energetic/magical properties include: working air elementals and the element itself, clearing the mind, increasing mental and psychic powers, clairvoyance, seeing the truth, seeing things for what they really are, etc. I made it to potentially help me see through situations. To determine if emotions and such are clouding my perception. 

Sounds hoaky and woo woo to many but I’m okay with that. I am about to be 29 and I’ve been doing this actively and knowingly since I was 12 with family. I’m used to it. 

I don’t have pictures of the process of starting the oil but I have an older blog that goes over that. Essentially, I just put the powder in a jar and then completely covered it with my carrier oil of choice. Leaving only enough room at the top of the jar to shake it. Because it is a powder I mixed it to make sure the oil filled all of the available space before topping off. Then I let it brew. Shaking daily. I left it for a few months but two weeks minimum should do the trick. 

To strain I first used the finest strainer I had. The powder makes it difficult to strain but I did the best I could. There are probably tools out there for this but nothing more available in this kitchen. 

I put the most powder free amount of oil in an amber bottle with a dropper for dripping into concoctions, the powdery slush I left in the jar for rubbing on candles and the in between oil I put in a jar I could easily dip my fingers into for anointing. Powder will sink to the bottom if you want to pour the top off into other jars. Then I stored these all in our herbal cupboard out of the sunlight.

I hope some of you found this helpful if magical oil infusing interests you! You can do this for medicinal use as well to make topical massage oils. 

Working With Essential Oils For Rosacea 

My whole life I have had pink skin. As a child it was cute. Eternally rosy cheeks and an easily reddened face. When I got older it got more red. Red OVER pink. Then dry patches and random skin issues arose. My mom suspected rosacea. It was never “bad enough” that I wanted to seek help. Instead, I started using lavender to help the redness. It worked decently when using regularly. I used infused oils, water infusions and essential oil from the plant at different times. Using what I had when I had it. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest last Summer from Southern California my skin became more dry. Whereas it was more oily before. Rough patches and redness started to make more of an appearance. Then recently a full rash spread like a trail across my face. I took pictures and immediately sent them to my mom. A nurse with many years experience in dermatology. The next day she confirmed her diagnoses with one of the doctors she works with. It was rosacea. She immediately began researching pregnancy safe medication for me. Whereas I ran to our essential oils. 

I had been neglecting using essential oils on my face for a few months prior to the breakout. I had started infused oils that ended up in baths and simply never got around to making my usual concoction to help my skin with essential oils to make up for it. I was using rose infused jojoba oil as a spot treatment for dry patches but found it too heavy for all over wear for my face (it is perfect for the rest of me though!) but it wasn’t enough. So when my husband found his essential oils by chance shortly after I had more of a confirmation on what was going on it felt like it was all clicking into place on what I needed to do. I grabbed our family oils and his collection (this was before we started buying them together) and headed to the bathroom to get to work.

My easy remedy to ease the redness was lavender essential oil in my light sensitive skin oil free face moisturizer. I use different brands depending on where we are and what is available but I always choose the light formulas for sensitive skin and that generally means oil free as well. Depending on the size of the bottle I would use 5-20 drops and mix well. Leaving overnight to “infuse” the lotion. This time I used lavender, rosemary and my husbands all time favorite helichrysum or “Immortella” oil. I added 5 drops of each as well as 5 drops of my rose infused jojoba oil. The difference is incredible! The first day the rash on my cheek went away along with some redness. A few days later the rash under my bottom lip was gone. A week later and only some redness remained. Less than I have had in probably a year or so. I still have dry spots the size of my 17 month olds pinky nail but I gently exfoliate daily and it’s not bad at all. I also found an activated charcoal cold process soap in the cupboard I began to use after someone I recently met suggested it as shelf full aide. 

Other essential oils for rosacea include: German chamomile, rose geranium (or just geranium), rosewood, tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme and others. Please be sure to always dilute your oils. A 2-5% dilution is generally recommended. Do your research prior to use if pregnant, nursing, taking medication, et cetera. I am only giving advice based off of my own research and experiences and I am not a medical professional. If you use oils on your face I would stay out of direct sunlight and from enduring long sun exposure! 

I’m not saying essential oils cure everything or anything at all. It has just helped me PERSONALLY in taming my symptoms immensely. Rosacea sometimes worsens around age 30 and I’m pregnant and turning 28 this month. Soon I will seek the advice of a medical professional in the case that it may worsen with age. Holistic healing is an amazing thing but we don’t scorn most modern medicine in our house. We use both! A gut friendly diet is also recommended for rosacea as many say it may stem from there. So eat well and do your research! If anything with using oils…at least you’ll smell good! 

Herbal Electuaries 

I was recently inspired to make something I have not made in years. An herbal electuary! It’s basically a blend of honey (or another liquid sweetener but I have never tried them) and herbs. It’s great for bitter herbs or for those like myself who are really picky with different tastes but want the benefits of different herbs. It’s also great for kids as the sweetness of the honey can overpower the taste of the herbs you may be administering. Such as during flu season when you want your wee ones to have a extra boost of vitamins and proactive ingredients to ward it fight sickness. Be aware children before 1 should not be given honey. 

Before I begin let me say that you should never ignore medical help in my opinion. The news reports I see of children dying because their parents used tea or something of that nature instead of medical help break my heart. Herbs are a great way to live a healthy life but some things are too serious to be ignored as I see it. Also, be aware herbs can interfere with medications and react differently with each persons body chemistry. The properties of herbs will also change depending on how they are prepared! Consulting a certified herbalist or a doctor with holistic healing knowledge is encouraged before ingesting various herbs regularly. Especially, if you are contemplating giving them to children and teens. 

There are some that say honey never goes bad. That its chemical makeup gives it an extremely stable shelf life and a long one at that. Dried herbs also tend to last quite a while. Though there are those like myself who believe they start to very slowly lose a bit of their goodness as time goes on as soon as they have been harvested. The honey helps to lengthen their life in a sense. Honey is also known to be an antibacterial and anti-fungal. 

To make an electuary gather your herb of choice or herbal blend. I am using a pregnancy tea of my own creation here. 

I suggest grinding the herbs into a powder first. You can use a mortar and pestle, blender, coffee grinder, etc. I used a coffee grinder to speed it up.

Blend the powdered herbs with honey. Local raw honey is best! There are also types of quality raw honeys on the market that are popular with those who use holistic medicine. 

You can use as little or as much as you would like. Anything from a syrup to just enough honey to make a really thick paste.

I chose to make mine a little syrupy. I plan on using a teaspoonful in hot water for a tea. You can eat it directly but when I’m pregnant it’s hard to consume certain textures easily so I am going the tea route. Some people even create lozenges with their blends to take directly and raw! 

Make sure to store in an air tight container. I made very little this time around as I plan to make a few different blends with the honey I have. 

A spoonful of the electuary a day is what is typically suggested. If you’re using it to fight sickness, promote sleep, help with nerves, etc more can be taken. Just be sure to study up on the herbs you are using. Electuaries can be taken immediately! 

Electuaries can also be used for ritual purposes. To ingest SAFE and EDIBLE sacred herbs before an undertaking. Of course this is just an idea and I am not responsible for anyone taking this for their own use. 

Homesteading Herbalism – Mugwort 

Home grown mugwort! We have several jars from different parts of the plants that were harvested at different times back home. I wanted to write a really quick blog on mugwort to share! These are some bare bones to get you started. 

Mugwort is a prominent herb in Urglaawe and Braucherei. The American Heathen practices that originated in Germanic Europe. It’s a family favorite here and sacred to my goddess Frau Holda. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is one of the 9 Sacred Herbs to the Anglo-Saxon people. It is mentioned in “The Lacnunga” that was written after the Christianization of the area but still gave insight into the popular practices of the populaces who tended to hold on to some of their Pagan rituals. The 9 Sacred Herbs are said by some to refer to the world tree Yggdrasil while some texts say these correspond to the 9 different illnesses. In either case the herbs were used by Odin (or Woden to the Anglo-Saxon’s) to defeat the serpent which was a symbol of death and suffering. Mugwort was used by the Anglo-Saxon’s not only to flavor their brews but to also protect against evil and illness among other things. Today, it is commonly used in divination, dream pillows, for protection, to increase psychic powers, for healing, strength, astral projection, safe travel, spiritualism and more!

Medicinally, mugwort is used by women to help with delayed menstruation and to regulate the menstrual cycle. It is also create to stimulate the digestive system, aide gas and bloating, in calming nerves, in relaxing muscles, etc. It is a popular ingredient in some Asian goods and medicine as well. 

White Sage – Homesteading Herbalism

Growing up in Southern California we were able to find wild white sage in parks and on trails. When people (at least the people I know) think of white sage they usually think of smudging. Using the herb either loose leaf or bound together into a rolled stick to burn and then energetically cleanse areas and people using the smoke. Smoke cleansing and purification is found in many cultures but as this is a native plant to the area it was also associated with the Native Americans there. I had rarely seen it used outside of smudging but once found it used in herbal (legal) tobacco alternative cigarettes I purchased once for spiritual use. Those contained mullein unfortunately and I ended up with a slightly itchy throat but the rest of the blend was actually quite pleasant and I made a blend myself that I gave to friends after. I had also used the herb in oils for ritual use and perfumes as well as incenses. Please note that white sage and kitchen/cooking sage are NOT the same thing and even look slightly different.

When I met my now husband he had white sage in his freezer. I thought it was odd and asked him about it. He said he used it in tea and cooking. That in some stories he read it helped create a long life as well as having medicinal properties. I tasted it in food and it was actually great. Now I use a little (very little!) in certain foods and occasionally tea. Today I am making black beans with white sage, turmeric, smoked paprika and curry spice to go over rice. The white sage really adds that special something extra to the flavor. This herb is also great on gamey meats and in other savory dishes. 

I have no scientific or otherwise backing for anything stated here so please do your own research! However, from my readings the herb is said to contain antibacterial properties and is good for general healing, sore throats, congestion, skin problems and inflammation, heavy and painful periods, etc. It decreases breastmilk production so be aware of that. I am using very little in my food and rarely as I still nurse my daughter. Though through her own choice she nurses rarely now. Spiritually speaking it is used today in cleansing, purification, blessing and healing. 

Coming from a Paganism and Witchcraft background most of my herbal knowledge is more spiritually based and when medicinal knowledge pours out of me it’s almost always connected to herbs I have used spiritually. As I start working towards a homesteading lifestyle I look more and more into native plants and their medicinal properties. Working with what is around me is not only a smart thing to do but it’s actually fun too! I plan to make my herbalism posts a frequent thing so be sure to stay tuned for more! 

Lavender Infused Oil -Natural Skin Care

More than a few years ago I was dealing with what seemed to be rosecea. My skin is naturally very pink but I started noticing more redness, occasional odd dry patches with flakey skin and bumps in different weather, etc. I never got it diagnosed but I took steps to take care of it naturally. I’m not against modern medicine but I tried lavender first as it wasn’t serious. It worked great! I started by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to my fragrance and oil free face moisturizer. I use a 2% dilution in everything going on my skin with the rare exception of ritual oils on occasion. I don’t care how pure the oil claims it is. 2%!

I have also been known to put it in body lotion, hair products, face cleaner, solid bar soaps, etc. More because I love it rather than my entire body “needed” it. Essential oils can be expensive and even diluted can cause reactions so always do a test patch! To help with the cost I started making herbal oils from the plant like you can find in this blog of mine: Cold Infused Herbal Ritual/Perfume Oil | The Heathen Homesteader 
Making lavender infused oil for your skin is the way I really suggest anyone go. Especially, if you’re using it frequently. I don’t have an exact recipe but you really just need to put some of the flower buds into a container with a tight fitting lid then cover it with oil. I used Jojoba here but Pure Sweet Almond oil works beautifully. After a few weeks I strain and refresh the the buds before waiting another few weeks. As I wait for it to brew I am using essential oil diluted in oil to moisturize my skin. 

The Winter is so harsh on my face with the cold and winds. My face started getting redder than ever! I began using the oil in skin care products and it has been helping a lot. You can also make your skin care products from scratch which I have done as well! Lavender is great for redness, acne, rosacea, damaged skin, dryness, etc. Be careful in the sun when using any essential oils or oils in general. 

Cold Infused Herbal Ritual/Perfume Oil

I have been making herbal infused oils for many years now in a multitude of different ways. As the avid gardener and wild harvester I am (when I’m living somewhere that allows it) I always have had an abundance of herbs. When it is something I can’t grow or something I need ASAP I try to buy as locally as possible. If I can’t get it locally I try to at least shop small. My family is all local and handmade enthusiasts. Support your community! Support artists! 

That being said today I am using one method of making an infused oil. The long way. I prefer to make “cold process” infused oils. Or really cold processed anything when I can. Not adding heat helps to protect the various properties of the herbs and oil/s and I think it generally retains a better scent and texture. Today, I am using what I could find at one of our co-ops. I prefer Pure Sweet Almond oil as my carrier oil of choice for most things. Even perfume oils. Though. If you want a fast drying perfume oil I would use a “dry” carrier oil. I have used rice oil and didn’t enjoy the texture but I know many natural perfume makers who utilize it. I just take the extra time to massage my oils in. 

The carrier oil I am using today is Jojoba. This seems to be the most popular carrier oil out there. When all else fails I can still find this oil. It’s my husbands favorite for massaging. A little goes a long way. Which is good considering its price….

I don’t have an exact method for making infused oils. I don’t tend to consume herbal oils or else it would matter for taste. I cook too much of a variety to keep 100 bottles of olive oil with different herbs and such soaking in it. If I want herbal infused oil for cooking I use heat and make it before I begin cooking. Though this might soon change in some ways (stay tuned!). I generally go by the size of the bottle, the amount of oil I have, the herbs, whether or not I will be adding essential oils, etc. That combined with a bit of intuition and a lot of experience. When I sold oils years ago I made notes on what and how much was used for myself but it’s never the same oil to oil. So play with different amounts to get what you like. 

I have noticed rose oil and rose scented things irritate quite a few people. I LOVE it though and love how it makes me feel. I try to be considerate of others though so this is one of route I go to minimize effecting others while still making myself happy. The other route is making rose water. I use fresh roses for rose water though and I only have dried. So oil it is! This oil pictured in the blog is going to be worn as a VERY light perfume oil and for me a mood enhancer. The smell makes me feel refreshed and beautiful. I dab it behind my ears and on my wrists.

What I do to make it is take a sterilized bottle with a good fitting lid. I like droppers so I can use the shaft to mix things up a bit while not having a ton of air in the bottle to shake it. If I am using something like a mason jar I keep some space to gently shake my ingredients once a day to every few days depending on what is in it. Dried ingredients usually only need it every few days in my experience. I fill at least half the bottle full of herbs then cover completely with oil. I leave this for at least two weeks then I strain and add the oil to another bottle with new herbs. I feel it helps to make a more concentrated brew. This isn’t necessary though. The longer you let it steep the better. Two weeks is the absolute minimum for a good oil. After it has steeped long enough you can strain the oil for use or leave the herbs in. It can get messy with the herbs so most of the time I strain unless the bottle has a narrow mouth where I can place my thumb over it for just a dab of oil. I don’t mind digging my herbs out of small bottles but if you do use a larger mouthed bottle and strain with cheesecloth. 

After it is all done is when I would add essential oils. I don’t always use them but you may want a stronger scent, more concentrated energy (for ritual work if you do that) or find essential oils retain more of their healing properties but are a bit pricey. Sometimes I also add crystals but you have to be sure they won’t deteriorate in liquid. I have seen far too many people use crystals that crumble with a bit of sweat or moisture in general much less using them to infuse drinks and oils by fully submerging them. Please do your research. Also note that light and heat can destroy the oil. Keep in dark bottles if possible and in a cool dark place. 

If you have any questions feel free to comment! The pictures are random and not really instructional. Just pretty.