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I’ve already discussed the main ways that you all can keep your harvest fresh for months to come but another product of your farm that I haven’t talked about is your herbs. I don’t give them much thought considering most of them grow so fast, but I still think that a proper preservation method should be available to everyone.

Even though it would be magical if you could simply store every kind of herb that comes your way, it’s not really possible. Even if you could do it, it’s impossible to retain the flavor and taste of soft herbs, such as mint and basil, if they’re frozen because they taste best when added fresh. Luckily, you can preserve most hard herbs by freezing them in oil.

If you’re wondering why you can’t just freeze the herbs as they are, it’s due to the burn and loss of flavor that it can cause. Plus, herbs are most commonly used in dishes like soups, roasts, and stews during the winter months, when you can’t really grow them in your garden.

With these dishes, you always need some oil to begin with, so having herb-infused oil to cook vegetables and meat lets the flavor fuse into every ingredient that you use. Now, here’s how you can freeze herbs such as oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme, in oil.

You’ll need to start by using the freshest herbs available so make sure to use ones that are freshly-picked from your garden. Clean the herbs thoroughly to remove any dirt and then place them on a towel so they dry indoors. Take the herbs and chop them finely if you prefer to. This can help the flavor fuse with the oil better but not to such a great extent. So if you prefer, you can freeze them in leaves with a bit of stem. Or, you can freeze a mix of whole and chopped herbs.

Take an ice cube tray and make sure that it comes with a cover so that it keeps the smell from affecting other items in your freezer. Place herbs in each division and fill them to about two-thirds of the height. Pour oil of your choice, such as olive oil, the extra virgin kind, or neutral canola oil. If you don’t have oil at hand or plan on cooking other kinds of dishes that don’t make use of oil, you can melt unsalted butter and pour it over the herbs. If you don’t have a cover for the frozen herbs, you can cover it with a layer of cling wrap and place the tray in the freezer for the night.

The next day, remove your cubes of oil and herbs and place them in plastic bags. Remember to label what herbs and oil were used on each Ziploc bag, and don’t store them all together to prevent smells and tastes from mixing. This is how you can preserve your hard herbs over the winter. Simply remove as many cubes as needed, and add them to your pan for an instant burst of flavor to your meal. You’re welcome. Happy Farming!

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Celebrate Your Style with Your Own Signature Fragrance

It may seem like the ultimate in alchemy – transforming different aromas into one stunning signature perfume – but it is not completely shrouded in mystery. In fact, you can create your own perfume, one that is unique to you. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment, but you do need some ingredients before you get to choose your essential oils, and create your own blend.

You will need an alcohol base for your perfume. Vodka is a popular choice as it’s odorless, and there is always some left over for a cocktail. You will also need a collection of old perfume and cologne bottles and sprays that can be opened. These should be thoroughly washed and dried to remove all traces of old scent.

Now you need to consider the structure of your perfume before you start experimenting. A classic perfume consists of top notes, middle notes and base notes. The top note is the ‘zing’ of your perfume that will be evident as soon as you put it on, but it doesn’t as long as the others. The middle note will come into play after the top note has faded. The base note is a long lasting aroma that anchors the rest.

You will see from this that you need to structure your perfume to fade gracefully. The very best perfumes do this – they don’t just vanish all at once, as lesser perfumes do, or fade to a cheap base note. The best base notes are the heavy, warm scents such as sandalwood or patchouli. Both have an oriental aroma although patchouli is much stronger. Amber is another common base note that is suitable for most perfume types. Musk also popular and anchors a perfume very well. Note that it is synthetically made now instead of taken from an animal. Greener base notes can be found in vetiver, rosemary, cedarwood and oakmoss. Once you have decided on your base note (or notes, you can combine them) you can move on to the middle notes.

These are the aromas that give your perfume its character, and set its direction – this can be floral, classical, sensual, youthful and so on. Among the middle notes you will find the longer lasting floral scents, such as rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Herbal scents such as thyme, clary sage and rosemary, and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger are all popular middle notes.

The lighter top notes can be chosen from among many floral and citrus scents – here you will find lavender, violet, mimosa – lemon, lime and orange. Let your own taste guide you in choosing the notes for your perfume, but don’t be afraid to experiment. A touch of spice may be just what your floral mixture needs to set it apart and make it your own, a hint of sensuality may be just the right note to anchor your green and woody scent to your own personality.

The real secret to blending essential oils is to use a dropper and a glass bottle. Put in your chosen base notes first, then add the rest, adjusting to get the scent you want. You will need only a few drops or less of each. Then add your oil mix to the alcohol, filling the bottle to the top. You will need a fine funnel to do this, or you can fill it with a dropper, which will take more time.

When you have created your own signature scent, you can also create your own range of products. Add it to fragrance-free products like baby shampoo for your hair and baby oil for after bath care. Sprinkle a few drops into fine arrowroot powder for talc and add to plain sorbolene for skin care.

You can also sprinkle it on patterned paper to scent your underwear drawer, on writing paper and envelopes to make your letters extra special and add to potpourri to give your home your own very personal touch.

Lastly, give your signature perfume a name. Take a leaf out of the celebrity book and use your own name and a word that inspires you. Use your computer to create labels for your products. In other words, be your own ‘It Girl’.


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