by CONNIE BRIESE
As I sit here writing this and thinking about — anticipating really — what herbs I need to be planting, or what oils I should be planning ahead for my summer needs, I am diffusing my go-to spring allergy blend of lavender, lemon and peppermint. This blend for me was one of my first love affairs with essential oils, something that worked miracles on my recently acquired Central Oregon allergies. But enough about spring, let’s daydream about summer together, shall we?
Sunny summer days, and cool high desert evenings, what’s not to love about our Central Oregon summers? It’s a great time to get a jump on our herb gardens and regardless of your space you can sneak one in almost anywhere indoor or outside. Now what to use the herbs for? I have made sugar scrubs mixed with both fresh herbs and oils, sunscreen, bug spray, lotions, you name it. Personally, I find it fascinating that all the herbs and spices we use on our foods regularly have wonderful healthy benefits to our bodies as well. Did you know that basil helps with sore muscles and joints and also helps reduce anxiety? Cilantro aids in digestions and helps with detoxification. Peppermint promotes clear breathing and alleviates occasional upset stomach. Rosemary helps reduce fatigue. I could go on for days about the benefits of growing fresh herbs in our summer gardens or patio planters.
There is nothing quite like slipping out onto your deck to snip fresh chives for your baked potatoes, or presenting summer BBQ guests with a local fresh grass fed beef steak or chicken breast rubbed down with a homemade rosemary rub (simple recipe on page 33) grown with your very own hands.
So let’s talk Essential Oils or EO’s for a moment. EO’s are all the rage lately — you are hearing about them everywhere. Let’s face it, as good as it sounds to run out to your beautiful little herb garden to snip some fresh parsley, some of us have no time or no desire to grow our own. Although, you still want the best when it comes to feeding your family, insert EO’s here. There are many available on the market and just like with anything we put in and on our bodies, I want to encourage you to do a little research first before simply picking up any bottle. I use Young Living Essential Oils because I love the Seed to Seal promise that they have done everything possible to ensure their hand is on every step to ensure authenticity and purity. EO’s can be used aromatically, topically and internally. But since we are talking summer herbs let’s just stick with using them in our foods.
Bringing summer directly into your kitchen is as easy as picking up some fresh avocado, tomato, etc. and tossing it together with a couple drops of oils (guacamole recipe on page 33). Experiment using herbs and oils in your pesto, your marinades and even your summer drinks. Do a little looking and you will find that the benefits fresh herb and essential oils have on what ails you are as endless as our high desert summer nights.
photos courtesy of Connie Briese
Rosemary Garlic Rub
3 T Fresh Chopped Rosemary
8 Cloves Chopped Garlic
1 T Ground Pepper
1 T Ground Himalayan Sea Salt
Optional: Olive Oil
Mix together all ingredients. You can add oil to make a thick paste or simply rub herbs over your choice of meats, goes well with beef, pork, chicken, wild game or even lamb.
1 small tomato diced
1 shallot minced
1 serrano pepper minced
½ lemon juiced
3-6 drops of lime Essential oil
3-6 drops cilantro Essential Oil
(or fresh chopped)
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
Mash avocado with a fork. Add remaining ingredients. Add Essential oils and spices. Adjust to taste.