Category Archives: Baking with Herbs

Solar Powered Herbalism

Picture3It is hot out there, which leads me to thinking about positive ways to use all this thermal energy.

For those of an esoteric bent, the  idea of harvesting the sun’s  energy in making our preparations is appealing. There are many ways to utilize the sun’s energy when making herbal preparations. Solar infusions are  wonderful and all you really need for those is a half-gallon or gallon sized canning jar.

Solar ovens can be used for making herbal preparations.  I have a fancy one I picked up several years ago after a IRENEW event, but they can be easily made.  Decoctions and infused oils both work well in solar ovens, although I have found it useful to not clamp the lid down tightly when decocting.  One fun thing about this is you can go really old school and decoct in clay pots.

I do also use the oven for drying hardier parts of the harvest.  I have a screen made of chicken wire for dehydrating  roots, berries,  fruits and vegetables . I am not keen on dehydrating more delicate parts of the plants  in the solar oven.

A solar oven is  best though of as a slow cooker, which is why it works well for infusing oils.  The biggest challenge I have found in using the solar oven is in planning.  Preparing  with the solar oven involves checking the forecast and  thinking ahead.

Since granola recipes really lend themselves well to herbal additions and preparation in a solar oven, I thought I would include this recipe.

10152073551166860Gluten free  Herbal Granola

5 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup finely ground unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup ground seeds including lightly roasted milk thistle seeds
1/4 cup astragalus powder
1 cup almond meal or any other ground nut
1 cup honey or maple syrup
1 cup olive oil, coconut oil, melted butter or any combination thereof
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4  cup ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried cherries

Grind the coconut and the seeds.  I use pumpkin seeds and milk thistle seeds.   Mix this with the astragalus powder and the almond meal .
Stir in your sweetener, oil,  vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.    Don’t skimp on the warming spices as they help to improve digestion of foods like nuts and grains. |

Finally stir in the oats and almonds bake in your oven until golden brown.   If  using a conventional oven bake at 250 degrees for about an hour.    I like to add the cherries after it has baked.