Thursday, November 3, 2011

Making Stevia Syrup

I didn't get a huge crop of stevia from the plant I managed to kill at the end of summer, but obviously it doesn't take a lot of stevia to do a lot of sweetening.

Rather than putting the leaves in my tea, I decided to make a syrup using vodka and water. Here's the recipe I used:
  • 1 teaspoon of dried stevia leaves
  • 4 ounces of vodka (the cheap stuff will do)
  • 8 ounces of water (used to dilute the syrup after infusion) 
Add stevia to the alcohol and let it sit overnight. Test for sweetness within 24 hours. If you want it sweeter, let it sit another 12 hours, but not much longer or the stevia will have an aftertaste that I personally don't care for.

Strain the vodka through cheesecloth (I use double netting like the kind grandmothers use to make tutus for their granddaughters).

Add pure water to the strained mixture and pour into dark bottles. Store in refrigerator for up to three months.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recycling Candles

Save your old, used candles to make new ones. I collect the scraps until I get enough to make this project worth while because it can be very messy.

I use a coffee cup warmer to melt the wax at a low temperature, but you can use a double boiler. My method takes all day, but it doesn't need much tending to, which means I can go about my day and not be confined to the project. I work from home. Use your brain; and don't leave this unattended all day while you are not home.

Stir every few hours to ensure even melting. I admit I like to play in the wax and stir it about ten times an hour and make a huge mess on the counter top. I've learned to tape thick layers of newspaper to the counter to make clean up easier.

I purchase non-smoking wicks online and set them into the jar after the wax melts. That way, I don't have to pour the hot liquid.

For more information about making candles at home, download my free PDF with instructions

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Making Echinacea Oil at Home

Echinacea is well known for its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Recommended to reduce symptoms of scratchy or sore throat, lymph node inflammation, stomach cramps, and urinary tract infections, as well as lessen the symptoms and duration at the onset of a cold or the flu.

Taken in a tea up to 6 times per day, or as an oil at one drop every 2-3 hours or so. The oil can also be used for treatment of insect bites, burns, skin ulcers, herpes sores, cold sores, and yeast infections in women.

Seeing how this stuff is good for just about whatever ails you, I used the leaves of the echinacea purpurea (coneflower) that I grew in my garden this year, to make an oil infusion. In this photo the leaves are in a net bag, which makes straining unnecessary.