Holiday Herb Gift Guide

 

Herbal teas, culinary herbs, and herb infused bath products are among the many great ways to enjoy herbs from the garden. Get in the holiday spirit by crafting one, or all, of these seven easy, herb-focused gifts for you and your loved ones.

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Historical Herbs

Herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano have long had medicinal and culinary uses dating back thousands of years. It is believed that thyme was used by ancient Egyptians as part of the embalming process and by ancient Greeks in ceremony and baths. Until the twentieth century, rosemary branches were burned in hospitals to purify air. Sage was grown by decree of Charlemagne in imperial gardens all across Germany and considered an indispensable medicine. Herbs have long been used to heal wounds, aid and soothe digestion, and to treat and prevent infection. Many herbs were often used medicinally, for fragrances, and ritual and ceremony before they were co-opted for the kitchen.

Herbs contain many essential oils that contribute to their flavor, but also have medicinal and health-benefiting properties. Most dishes and diets use herbs as flavoring for food, but there are many ways to reap the benefits of herbs including diffusing essential oils, herbal teas, herb infused bath and beauty products, herbal vinegars and oils, and even herb pestos.

These recipes are great last-minute gift ideas for your favorite gardener, chef, or the host of the holiday party you’re going to! But we won’t tell if you just make them all for yourself… you’ve earned it this holiday season!


Gifts for Foodies


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Culinary Herb Salt

Salt has been used for thousands of years to cure and preserve foods all throughout the world. Use this ancient preservation technique this holiday season for holiday meals or as a gift for your favorite cook. Herbed salt is great directly on dishes, used in dressings, brines, and savory pastries.

Recipe:

1 cup medium or coarse sea salt (depending on intent of use, more coarse for brines and savory pastries)

10-15 stems of various herbs (tarragon, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, chive), minced

Step 1:

Destem and mince all of your herbs (we used purple sage, thyme, parsley, and chives).

Step 2:

Mix herbs and salt in a medium mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.

Step 3:

Transfer salt mixture to dry, sealable containers. Stored in a cool dry place herbed salt will last up to a year.

Herb Butter:

Headed to a last-minute holiday party and need a host gift? Whip up a batch of herb butter in minutes-- plus bragging rights if you use your homegrown herbs! It’s a crowd pleaser, promise.

Recipe:

1 stick of butter (or butter alternative)

1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced

10-15 sprigs of your herb(s) of choice, destemmed and minced (we used chives and parsley)

Step 1:

Allow your butter to come to room temperature. Using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or by hand, whip the herbs, garlic, and butter until combined. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Consume within 5 days.

Step 2:

Use wherever you would use butter. It’s especially delicious on veggie dishes!

Sage Sugar

Use as a garnish or rim your favorite adult beverage!

Recipe:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup fresh herb leaves (sage, basil, thyme, and rosemary are some of our favorites)

Remove thick stems from herbs, then run a knife through sprigs to break up into smaller pieces. Place herb leaves in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add sugar and pulse again to blend. Transfer to an airtight container (no need to sift) and cover.


Bath and Beauty Gifts


Kitchen Herbs Bath Salt

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Recipe:

1 ½ cups Epsom Salt

1 ½ cups sea salt

⅛ cup (2 T) of dried thyme

⅛ cup (2 T) of dried oregano

10 drops of lavender essential oil


Mix together in a bowl and put into a seal-able container like a mason jar. When ready for a bath, put in 1 cup of mixture under warm running water, letting the salt dissolve. And...Relax.



Herbal Sugar Skin Scrub

Recipe:

½ cup of granular sugar

¼ cup of olive oil

2 T of dried oregano

5 drops of lavender essential oil

5 drops of rose essential oil (if you have it)

Step 1:

Blend together until it forms a smooth paste, adding more olive oil as needed.

To use: Take out a golf ball-sized amount and use as a scrub on your skin, really working it into the skin, and wash off after.

Calendula Lemon Hand Refresher

Soothing Skin Salve

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Makes 20 oz. or five 4 oz. jars

This soothing skin salve is infused with herbs to help comfort bug bites, superficial cuts and burns, and chapped skin. Use what ingredients you have on hand; however, this combination is our recommendation.


Recipe:

3 cups extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup almond oil

¾ cup dried comfrey leaves (35 grams)

¾ cup dried calendula flowers (15 grams)

¾ cup dried rosemary (30 grams)

¾ cup dried thyme (25 grams)

½ cup dried plantain leaves (25 grams)

20 drops lavender essential oil

1 T vitamin E oil

½ cup beeswax

Step 1:

Add olive oil and dried herbs/plants, submerging the plant matter in oil, in a crockpot and put on the lowest heat setting with the lid off. Be sure to not let the oil simmer. Allow to infuse for 12 to 24 hours, stirring regularly.

Step 2:

Turn off heat, strain out all plant material. Put infused oil back into crockpot, making sure to have removed all plant matter that may be sticking behind. Add beeswax, stirring until fully melted in oil. If needed, turn heat back to low, making sure, again, to not allow the oil to simmer. It may take a couple minutes for the beeswax to melt. Add lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil, stirring, to combine.

Step 3:

Pour into mason jars, tins, or other glass or metal containers. Allow to cool until solid. Decorate containers and bring a smile to someone’s face and relief to their dry skin! (Use within a year)

Tired hands from a day of gardening? Cutting onions for the holidays? Soothe your hands with this zesty, refreshing, lemon calendula hand scrub! Gift it to all of your gardener friends and make sure to save a jar for yourself!

Recipe:

Petals from 2-3 calendula flowers

1 T lemon zest

1 cup sea salt, medium grain (if you have coarse grain salt, pulse it in the food processor or blender for desired texture)

½ cup olive oil

Step 1:

Combine calendula flowers, lemon zest, and sea salt in a bowl.

Slowly add half of the oil, depending on the texture of your salt, your recipe may take more oil.

Mix with your hands and squeeze a portion in your palm. It should stick together like wet sand, if not add more salt or oil accordingly.

Transfer to jars or container with lids.

To use: scoop a small amount and gently rub your hands. Rinse with warm water and revel in the softness of your hands. Store out of direct light, use within a month.