so seemingly small,
to the whole universe
as tiny whispers
like the sounds
of butterfly wings,
and the clear voice
of the living truth.
One day our friend, Megan, walked into our house and exclaimed, "Ohhhh, it smells like home!" The kitchen counter had a pile of rosemary cuttings that I'd picked when pruning our garden that day. I planned to use some of the herb to make infused rosemary oil - perfect for drizzling over veggies, breads, or any other foods that have an affinity to the herb, like tomatoes. (Click on the archive button to see last week's article on Simple Changes, and accompanying recipe, Sunflower Seed Cheese with Tomatoes.)
Years ago, I made this oil for the first time and mailed some to my friend, Rose, who lives in Connecticut, when her mother was dying from cancer. She would rub the oil into her mothers hands - hands that were dry from the chemo treatments. Her mother loved the massage, and loved the smell. It was a special time they shared together, and I was linked to them through love, the rosemary, and the oil.
The oils from the plant are soothing to our skin. The pungent, aromatic fragrance opens, warms, and uplifts. It struck me that day when I was making the infusion, thinking of Rose and her Mother, that rubbing the oil on the body is like being anointed by rosemary.
Recipe for Making Rosemary Oil
Makes 1 cup rosemary oil. Lasts for several weeks. (You can refrigerate it to help preserve freshness.)
If you have, like we do, rosemary plants in your yard, finding rosemary is easy. Otherwise, buy a couple of rosemary herb packets from the grocery store, or maybe pick some from a friend's yard. We like to pick the parts of the plant that aren't flowering, because we once read in The Findhorn Garden book (by the Findhorn Garden Community), that plants do not like to be pruned when they are flowering. Our rosemary seems to be flowering almost all the time, but we feel that the rosemary is such a vigorous grower that it's okay to take cuttings from parts of the plant that don't have flowers.
Ingredients:1 cup loosely packed rosemary leaves
1 cup mild sweet olive oil, or Spectrum walnut oil
Preparation time: about 10 minutesCut about 8-10 rosemary stems, each about 7-10 inches in length.
Drying and infusing time: 4-5 hours
Rinse under cold running water to remove any dirt.
Shake off excess water. Set on a towel until the sprigs feel dry, about 2 hours.
Empty 1 cup of oil into a clean ceramic or Pyrex baking dish.
Strip the leaves from the stems, starting at the tips, working down. Thank the plant for giving itself to nourish you. The leaves release and peel off easily. Place leaves into the oil as you go. Your fingers will get a little sticky from the oils in the plant.
When all the leaves have been removed, mix into the oil to make sure they are mostly covered.
Put the bowl or glass dish into a dehydrator and set the temperature for 100 degrees. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can place the container in a just-warmed oven, checking to make sure the oil doesn't get hot. You want to warm the carrier oil just enough to allow the plant oils to release. Allow to sit for several hours.
When ready, the oil will turn a lovely golden-green, and smell delicious. Strain the leaves from the oil. The way I do it is to put a strainer over a Pyrex measuring cup, pour the rosemary and oil into the strainer, and allow it to drip. After about 10 minutes, press the leaves to get as much oil out as possible.
Pour strained oil into a glass jar, bottle, or container, and put a label on if you like. Pretty vinegar bottles with corks or lids are usually available at healthfood or grocery stores, and these work well.
Rosemary oil is pungent, so you only need a little at a time, just a teaspoon or so.
The flavor of the oil works beautifully with the flavors and tastes of Thanksgiving. When I see the finished product, it brings on a special feeling of gratitude. Drizzle over your favorite foods and enjoy the gifts of rosemary. Try rubbing some of the oil into your skin - you may feel a warm glow, and you will smell delicious too!
Extra Things to Do with the Rosemary
If you have extra leaves you can dry these at the same time you are making the infusion, and bottle up in a spice jar. The stems can be used as baking wands, or bound with string to make smudge sticks. Note: This infused oil is not to be confused with rosemary essential oil that you can purchase, which, according to Wikipedia, is too strong to be taken internally.
Clothe me in the beauty of Thy light.
Thanks Giving, by Janet
Humble my desires, so I may walk the quiet path.
In Thy flame, the illumination of my heart is restored.
Soul is here to love.