How to Make An Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

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One of my most popular offerings is my natural shampoo bars. My customers love them because they are gentle, effective and don’t strip the oils from their hair, so no conditioner is required. But, depending on the hardness of their water, some of my customers find it helpful to do a vinegar rinse once per month to keep their hair its shiniest.

No matter what type of shampoo you use, vinegar rinses are helpful in restoring your hair’s pH balance. They are also great for oily hair, itchy scalp, dandruff, dull hair, and other scalp conditions. You can easily make your own vinegar rinse, and the addition of dried herbs allows you to customize it to the needs of your particular hair.

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To make your own herbal vinegar rinse, mix 4 tablespoons of dried organic herbs with 8 ounces of organic apple cider vinegar.

For light hair, you can use a blend of 2 tablespoons organic rose petals and 2 tablespoons dried organic chamomile.

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For dark hair, you can use a mixture of 2 tablespoons dried organic nettle and 2 tablespoons dried organic lavender.

IMG_8807Place your herbs and vinegar in a clean glass jar, cap tightly. Label the jar with your herbs and the date. Allow to infuse for 6 weeks in a cool dark place, shaking the jar daily.

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After 6 weeks, strain out the herbs and pour your herbal vinegar into a sterilized glass jar with a plastic cap (vinegar can erode metal over time). The infused vinegar will keep for at least a year if stored properly in a cool and dry place.

vinegar8 vinegar9To use, mix 1-4 tablespoons of your herbal vinegar with 1 cup of water. Pour this mixture over clean hair, working into scalp. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, then rinse with clean water. Or, you can leave it in and allow hair to dry. Enjoy your happy, shiny hair!

This can also be used as a facial toner. Simply apply to clean skin with a cotton ball or cotton cosmetic pad. Because this formula is alcohol-free and non-drying, you don’t need to rinse it off.

 

How to Make Rose Petal Lemonade

The antique tea roses as well as wild roses in my yard are in full bloom. They look so beautiful I want to eat them. And, fortunately, I can since I don’t use any chemical pesticides in my garden. In the past, I have made cold strawberry rose petal soup and rose petal jelly. This time, I thought I would try making a beverage out of the blossoms. Inspired by a cold glass of lavender lemonade I had at J. Chocolatier in Georgetown yesterday, I thought I would try making my own version using roses.

I picked the freshest-looking blooms in the late morning, after the dew had dried from them, choosing a mixture of antique tea and wild roses for a greater depth of flavor. I removed the stems and stamens, and tossed any petals that looked brown on the edges. In total, I collected enough petals to loosely pack 1 measuring cup.

I placed the petals in a pyrex bowl and covered them with 2 cups of boiling water. I allowed the petals to steep for 30 minutes.

While the rose petals were steeping, I thought it would be fun to make some embedded rose ice cubes. I used a silicone gem-shaped ice cube tray that I had bought a while ago, but never opened. It seemed like a great girly-girl touch for my lemonade.

I also made some simple syrup from this New York Times recipe using organic Fair Trade sugar, then set it in the refrigerator to cool.

Once the rose petals were finished steeping, I strained the liquid through a cheesecloth into a measuring cup and placed it in the refrigerator to cool for an hour.

After an hour had passed, I squeezed the juice of 3 lemons through a strainer into the rose petal tea. I stirred in the cooled simple syrup, added the rose petal ice cubes, and voila! Rose petal lemonade – a perfect summer drink.

How to Make Cold Strawberry Rose Soup

In previous posts, I have shared my cold strawberry soup and my rose petal jelly recipes. Today, after a fruitful trip to the farmers market, and noticing the abundant blooms on my rosebush, I was inspired to create a new recipe that combines the best of both of these springtime delicacies. The result was amazing. It is lighter and brighter tasting. Plus the roses add a certain je ne sais quoi.

If this sounds appealing to you, here is how you can make your own cold strawberry rose soup.  You will need the following:

  • 2 quarts of fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup of rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon of rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup

Rinse the rose petals, then place them in a blender. Only use roses that you are absolutely sure have never been treated with pesticides. It’s best to use ones that you have picked from your own garden (or that of your trusted friends and family).

Wash, hull and halve the strawberries (you will probably use closer to 1 1/2 quarts, but it’s nice to have extras for garnish and for eating while you prepare the soup), then place as many as you can in the blender with the rose petals.

Add 1 teaspoon each of rose water and vanilla extract (I made my own by soaking 2 vanilla beans in a small bottle of brandy for 6 weeks) to the strawberries and roses. Puree until smooth.

Add the yogurt and maple syrup, and blend until well-mixed. (I’ve been using yogurt from Blue Ridge Dairy. All of their products are amazing, their cows are very happy, and their representative at my farmers market looks like Francis from Malcolm in the Middle :-).

You can add more strawberries at this point since you will have more room in the blender.

Chill, then serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt. Enjoy!

how to make rose petal jelly

DSCF0852When I moved into my house a couple of years ago, I inherited a beautiful rosebush from the previous owner. She said that it had belonged to her grandmother, and had not only survived being transplanted, but had thrived in the new garden with very little care.

The blossoms are petite and pale pink, with a light floral scent. In the last week, the entire rose bush has bursted with blooms. Because it is producing such an abundance of flowers, I thought it would be fun to make something out of them. The scent of the petals is subtle, so I thought they wouldn’t be suitable for making floral water. 

I remembered a recipe for rose petal jelly that I had found in Euell Gibbons’ book, “Stalking the Healthful Herb.” It is a version that is uncooked, and therefore preserves the large amounts of Vitamin C contained in the rose petals.

Here’s how to make uncooked rose petal jelly. This recipe makes about a quart of jelly. (NOTE: Only use petals from a rose bush that has not been treated with chemicals of any kind):

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Pick 1 cup of petals. Rinse thoroughly to remove any debris.

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Place the rinsed petals in a blender along with 1 cup of water, and the strained juice of 1 lemon. Blend until the petals are completely liquified. The petals will collect along the top of the blender at first, so you will need to stop the blender and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula from time to time.

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Once the petals are thoroughly pureed, reduce the blender speed and slowly add 3 cups of sugar. I found that my blender tended to splash a bit, even at the lowest speed.

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In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of fruit pectin (found in most grocery stores) with 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling. Boil, while stirring, for 1 minute, then pour slowly into the rose petal mixture while blending on the lowest speed for about 3 minutes. You will hear the sound change suddenly as it thickens up. Pour immediately into a sterilized jar. Keep refrigerated. If you don’t plan to use it within a few days, put it in a sterilized freezer-safe container and freeze for up to a year.

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Since the jelly is not cooked, it comes out opaque. And, because I used unbleached cane sugar, my jelly came out a pinkish cream-color, rather than pure pink. It looks pretty and it tastes great. I used it as a glaze on a roasted chicken, and it was delicious!

Red roses would make a more dramatic looking jelly. Also, if you want to enhance the rose flavor, you can add a couple of tablespoons of rose water during the petal-blending stage.