Part of my Calendula harvest for 2014
Welcome back! After a summer long hiatus, my blog is fixed and I can start sharing once again. I missed you!
On the farm, organization is key. It’s great to feel very free and flexible, but the people who get things done, have a plan. I organize my cupboards, my homeschool room, my pantry , and my upcoming meals. This frees up time for me to continue to write as much as I do. My herbs are organized as well. There is nothing worse than having a sick child and not being able to find the elderberry tincture. Let’s talk organizing. Here is what I use. Hopefully some of it is helpful to you.
I like to harvest in handfuls all summer. This means I have numerous bits of herb in various stages of drying. When the herbs first come in, I try to keep them together in the dehydrator so I don’t forget what things are. They then move to my favorite container; glass. I try to use big gallon jars whenever possible so I use less of them, but they are impractical to store in my tiny kitchen. I use quart jars for upstairs storage.
How to choose what to save and what to let die back? That is easy. I think about the things that my family deals with; upset tummies, sleeplessness and the winter cold/cough. We rarely (if ever) get the flu and I am a believer of supporting the immune system so the body can heal itself, so I keep a lot of herbs that are tonics-herbs that provide mineral health we may not be getting from our food. Healthy bodies heal themselves for most illnesses that I would try to heal at home.
So, for dried, whole herbs, use glass jars with labels, and out of the sunlight.
I use tinctures the most of all my herbal remedies. I also like single tinctures that I can combine as needed. To store them, I also use glass jars. Since my herbal business is family first-community second, I have been successful making my tinctures in quart jars. Hopefully someday I will have enough clients and need to make gallons, but who knows? For convenience, I buy my tincture bottles in 1 ounce sizes from Sunburst Bottle. I’ve used them for over 10 years with no broken bottles and everything of the highest quality. As you can see from my gallon jar above, I also use recycled glass. As long as the jar lid is good, I use the jar. This stems from needing jars for goat milk, Kombucha, and herbs. You sued to be able to get glass jars with metal lids from sandwich shops, but you had to tell them not to punch a hole in the lid(so they could open them easier). Then, many stores switched to plastic and you don’t want plastic. It may be worth checking into though.
I use a DYMO LabelMaker 450 Turbo thermal printer, and address sized labels. I can type in directions for use, names and harvest dates..it’s simple but effective. Find one used on Ebay if you can. They are well worth it.
That’s it! Keep it simple and label everything. Make simple lists of what you have in stock, the remedies you make up ahead of time, and even a short list of what you are running out of. Tape it on the inside of the cupboard door so you always know what’s available.