Gifts From the Herb Garden

orange olive oil
I make most of my gifts for friends and relatives. They appreciate the homemade things for use in the kitchen during the holidays.

This is a recipe for orange flavored oil. Use a mild olive oil, so the orange flavor shines through. You can use this oil for dipping chunks of crusty bread, or for basting a pork roast, use your imagination.

You’ll need one cup of olive oil and and the zest of two large oranges. Use a vegetable peeler to strip the zest off the oranges, avoid the bitter pith. If necessary, scrape any remaining pith from the zest using a sharp knife. Cut the zest into strips, and put the zest in a saucepan with the cup of oil. You can add a few whole black peppercorns for a peppery addition.

To infuse the oil, warm the mixture over low heat for about 10 minutes; be careful not to let the oil boil. Remove from heat and let the oil stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine seive, and enjoy. Or you can refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. The oil will keep for about two weeks. The oil will solidify, so let it stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving or using it in recipes.

You can also make a delicious lemon/thyme oil using this recipe. Use lemon zest instead of the orange and add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, plus one cup of olive oil.
olive oil thyme

The oil will look very festive if poured into a pint mason jar, or an oil curet, or any pretty jar. Be sure to label it for gift giving and toss in a few recipes.

I make a few pounds of this at Christmas. You can use it in herb tea or in any sugar cookie or shortbread cookie recipe.

Lavender Sugar- You’ll need 3 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers [ culinary ] 2 cups of superfine white sugar and a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Spread a paper coffee filter out flat on a surface and add the lavender flowers. Close up the paper filter tightly, use a twist tie or rubber band. Place the filter inside the jar and cover it with the sugar. Seal the jar and store it in a cool area. Gently shake the jar from side to side a few times. After two weeks, the aroma of the lavender will have permeated the sugar. Discard the packet of lavender after use. I buy the decorative jelly jars, 1/2 pint size for giving the sugar as gifts.

I’ll give several of these at Christmas- My recipe for Christmas Tea. Pick up some tea tins at the Dollar Store before you make the recipe.

2 cups of loose, black tea. Lipton sells black tea in a box. Look for it along side the Lipton tea bags. In a large bowl, add the loose tea, 2 tablespoons of dried orange peel, 3 small cinnamon sticks cut in half, 2 whole nutmeg, 10 whole cloves, 2 heaping tablespoons of dried lemon balm. Mix all the ingredients and add to the tins. Store airtight, and let it age 1 week before gift giving. Use one tablespoon per pot.

I give these to my friends at Christmas. Little herb bouquets. Much appreciated by the cook.

It’s called the Scarborough Mix. I simply go out in my greenhouse and do a little pruning of the following herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. I bring the herbs in and make small bouquets, just as you would if they were flowers. After I make the bouquets, I wrap them in damp paper towels, then in plastic wrap. I keep them in the fridge until I need them. I wrap the bouquets in white or red tissue paper, add a sticker or ribbon, and give them out. Handy to have fresh herbs for cooking during this busy time.

herb wreath

If you have an abundance of fresh herbs, you could make a beautiful fresh herb wreath for gift giving. Check the Dollar Tree. They have pretty grapevine wreaths that are perfect for making this gift. They also sell floral tape and wire. Give the wreath fresh, and tell the person to hang it up in the kitchen, and use the herbs fresh or let them dry for several days on the wreath.

~ Meadow Walker

The Etsy Store has the dried herb blend for the Scarborough Mix. We also sell Robust Italian and Herbes de Provence dried herb blends.

We offer  culinary herb teas as well. Great prices and fast shipping.



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