Pin ItRenovating a home (DIY style) is not for the fain of heart, but we’re managing it… just barely. It’s just one of the reasons you see me a little less here at the moment (I’m sorry, truly!). From planning to implementation, working and taking care of kids, keeping the air clean and making sure […]
Raise your hand if you’ve been let down by the conventional medical system. *Raises hand. While some medical procedures are necessary or even life saving, like a hip replacement surgery or an open heart surgery, there are so many preventable conditions that natural and alternative remedies can be used to treat. This is one of...(image)
We’re busy working around the homestead right now: our gardens are growing like crazy, chickens are laying like champs, and bees are happily multiplying.
The post What’s Happening on The Soft Landing’s Family Homestead appeared first on The Soft Landing®.
I started writing this post pre-illness. And during my hospital stay, I had one goal: not cancel my daughter’s third birthday party. I already worked so hard on that damn pinata! Thanks to help from family and friends, I was able to pull it off. And thank goodness it was a morning party because when […]
The Dangers of Swimming in Chlorinated Pools
Feel free to skip over this section and go straight to the strategies for minimizing the risks below. We don't all need to know the depressing details! But for those interested, here goes. When contaminants such as sweat, hair, sunscreen, or urine mix with the chlorine in the pool, they form disinfectant by-products, or DBPs. One type of DBP, chloramines, is responsible for the strong chlorine smell we associate with pools. DBPs are known respiratory irritants. Many DBPs are toxic or suspected carcinogens.
Numerous studies have connected swimming in chlorinated pools to health problems, particularly for the very young and the highly exposed (elite swimmers and pool workers). Health problems associated with exposure to chlorinated pools include increased risk of respiratory problems, childhood asthma and allergies, DNA damage and bladder cancer (see this discussion of the effects of DBPs). Several studies have highlighted the risks of swimming in indoor chlorinated pools in particular. For example, studies have linked swimming in indoor pools to testicular damage, as well as asthma and recurrent bronchitis in children. But the research on DNA damage and cancer is in the early stages, and the research reviews on chlorinated pool exposure and childhood respiratory problems that I read stated that the connection is inconclusive (since some studies find no connection, or even associate swimming with a decrease in respiratory symptoms).
For me, the bottom line is that toxic chemicals are present in and around chlorinated pools, and while researchers are busy studying the health effects of those compounds, my family will enjoy the benefits of recreational swimming while doing our best to mitigate our exposure to harmful chemicals.
How to Limit Exposure to Harmful Substances in Chlorinated Pools
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As a woman of a “certain age”, my skin needs more attention now than ever. So when Jan Berry from the blog, The Nerdy Farm Wife published a book called “101 Easy Homemade Products for your SKIN, HEALTH & HOME” (Amazon Link), I needed to check it out. The fact that I can make health...(image)
For the first time in my gardening career I am facing a slug invasion. Slugs can be a problem when it comes to plants and vegetables. Many gardeners have been reduced to near tears after seeing the fruits of their labor eaten by slugs. If you’re gardening organically this makes the task of getting rid of […]
I have always been intrigued by dreamcatchers. I grew up in the Southwest so I saw tons of them over the years and always thought they were astoundingly beautiful. They are essentially a hoop or web adorned with sacred items such as feathers and beads and are believed to filter bad dreams away. This video from […]
I have a huge bag of chia seeds that I have been meaning to use up. I usually use them in Kombucha but I haven’t made very much since we moved to our homestead. Go figure! Anyway chia pudding sounded good but how exactly do you make it? The video below shows you how step […]
I am just sick today about the number of cancer diagnosis just within my small group of friends and family lately. I am sick of having to police everything that comes into our house for carcinogens. You know that there is absolutely no requirement for chemical safety testing of what goes into personal care products or cleaning products in the US, right? Read more...
It’s summer again! Lots of time spent outside under that beautiful fiery globe in the sky, and that’ means it’s also time to talk about sunscreen. Most of us know we shouldn’t let ourselves burn out there, so we thought it’d be a good idea to point out the why, where, when and how when it […]
One of my husband’s favorite foods is a steak. He can have a steak any day if you ask him what he wants for dinner. And truth be told, I also think there is nothing like a rib eye steak perfectly cooked on a cast iron pan or a grill. I don’t crave it as...(image)
Since I started growing and harvesting my own herbs, I have learned a trick or two on how to preserve them for optimal use. Believe me, you don’t want washed up looking or tasteless herbs. Here are 5 tips on how to store dried herbs.
If you don’t grow your own, I will also provide tips where to buy them.
How to Store Dried Herbs
Don’t Cut Your Herbs Before You Use Them:
Most of the herbs you buy at the store are tasteless compared to freshly dried herbs. Once you cut an herb, it releases its oils, and starts to denigrate. Any aromatic herb such as mint will lose its smell rapidly. It is impossible to retain Lemon Balm’s fragrant smell.
If you grow your own, you don’t want to cut them before using them. Simply, seal them in a vacuum sealed bag. Alternatively, use a glass container, but realize it has air in it and the herb will denigrate. (You could always vacuum seal your herbs in a ball canning jar. My vacuum sealer has an attachment for sealing ball jars.)
Light and Air Are an Herb’s Enemy
Light and air are an herb’s enemy. It will cause its color to change which signifies it has lost some of its vigor.
Bulk herb bins are death nails for herbs. They spend their life in an air filled container with artificial light blaring on them.
Don’t get me started about grocery store herbs. Yep. A small glass jar allowing the herbs to sunbathe.
Either Dehydrate Your Herbs or Dry in a Very Warm, Dark Area.
If you simply hang your herbs upside down, they will fare better than the grocery store variety. However, they will dry quite a few shades lighter than their original color and be less potent.
If you have access to a dehydrator, dehydrate them.
If I dehydrate my herbs, then I set the dehydrator at 95-110 degrees.
This is the only time an herb should be near heat.
Don’t Store Your Herbs Near a Stove
Okay. How many of you store your herbs within arms reach of your stove? Sure it is easier to grab for the paprika when you need it. Remember heat, light and air are an herbs worse enemy.
Store them in a vacuum sealed bag (best) or glass container in a cool dark place.
Be Careful Where You Buy Your Herbs
Buying in bulk may not be the wisest decision:
- Herbs should be used within a year from purchase. Do you know how long the herbs had been in storage before reaching your door? If you buy too much, and don’t use it timely, you are wasting money. (Note, if you leave them whole, you might be able to use them for 2 years depending on the herb. I have herbs that are over 2 years old and are fine.)
- Are you buying herbs from a vendor whose herbs look washed out? If so, pass. They may have not been dried properly.
Many of you may know that I am an Etsy seller. Often times, I will check out my competition. I can’t believe how bad some of the herbs look from other Sellers. (Most of these sellers are simply buying from somewhere else and reselling the herbs.)
Herbs should look slightly lighter in color than their original state. If they look like they are washed out, then pass.
The only exception is that certain scented geraniums will not dry to their true color. I have tried every method I can think of to get those leaves to dry to their true color.
Also, note, flowers such chamomile and calendula for example should look like they did when they were on the plant. There should not be a color difference.
Recently, I purchased product from a reputable organic bulk seller since I need more than what I grow to make my teas for my shop. The color was washed out and it didn’t smell as good as mine. The herbs were sourced overseas.
I reached out to the seller to find out why. They responded that the plant may not look like mine since it is grown somewhere else, and therefore dries differently.
I honestly didn’t know how to react to their explanation. Maybe they are right but my gut tells me they weren’t dried properly or left out in the sun too long.
Where Should You Buy?
If you don’t want to grow your own, here are some suggestion where to find herbs:
- Buy fresh from your local farmer’s markets. Go early. Herbs start to droop by the afternoon. Then dry them yourself.
- Local Harvest lists local farmers who sell herbs
- Finding herb growers such as Zach Woods Farm who dries their herbs in their greenhouse at dehydrator temperature. I use a similar method.
- Mother Earth News lists these herb farms.
If you need to buy an herb in bulk, talk to your supplier and find out
- how are the herbs stored. Are they kept away from light and heat?
- Are they stored in packaging that impedes light?
- Are they steamed or irradiated. (You can ask for verification.)
- Are they sourced from organic farmers. (Look for the USDA organic certification.)
- If they say their herbs are wild-crafted, can they verify where they were sourced. Many herbs such as mugwort grow by roadways. Would you want to consume anything by a roadway?
I sell herbs as well but not in the bulk amount that the above suppliers sell–except for alfalfa and feverfew. I have a ton of these herbs! However, I moved into tea blends, flower essences, hydrosols, and bath salts and will be selling limited quantities of my herbs. Be sure to check out my shop!
Join the Conversation:
How you source your herbs or do you grow them?
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This week’s meal plan should really be called operation Clean-Out-Pantry. As vacation draws near for so many of us, now is the perfect time to use up what’s in our freezer and our pantries. Take some time this week to do an inventory of can go first from your freezer. Create your meal plan based...
The Lexus CT 200h has definitely been one of the nicest cars I have ever driven. It is the epitome of luxury and class but yet this model is also very, very green. I could not have been happier with the fuel economy I experienced during my recent week long adventures with this car…I averaged […]
Are you ready for another week of getting your meal plan organized?! It’s time to put pencil to paper, marker to dry erase board, or fingers to your keyboard. Whatever way you keep track of your meal plan, know that it’s okay to change your system if it’s not quite working for you. Sometimes you...
Safe Sunscreens are big business these days. New brands continually make their way into the sunscreen market with the hope that they too will be added to our ever growing arsenal of safe sun protection. Once the warm weather hits...
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A major problem in the packaged food industry is the staggering list of names for sugar used in products, nevermind the toxic artificial sweeteners!
The post 100+ Types of Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners + How to Avoid the Dangerous Ones appeared first on The Soft Landing®.
Cheers to all the men and their families celebrating Father’s Day this weekend. I hope it was filled with fresh food and yummy food from the grill. We celebrated with a trip to a local farm to get fresh picked strawberries, try out some lunch from the food truck festival and finish off with some...
It has been awhile since I did a frugal friday share but I am really trying to amp up my frugality and finance savvy recently. Primarily I am so obsessed with all things finances because we bought our house last year a bit before we were ready. We caught house fever as Dave Ramsey would […]
Like all pets, rabbits need a balanced diet in order to thrive. Because 20% of a rabbit’s entire body weight is occupied by its digestive system, diet is especially important to a bunny’s health. Many of the pellet foods that are provided in the US market contain everything that your rabbit will need nutrition-wise. They are […]
As a Stonyfield Blogger, I was asked to write about Stonyfield Yogurt and a beautiful recycled polyester prAna dress. I never imagined the turn the month would take, and how these items would go from #SummerCravings to actual necessities. You see, this May I had a harrowing and actual near-death experience. An undiagnosed bout of […]
In many areas of the country poison ivy is a part of life, especially when you live and work outdoors so much. While I personally find it to be just itchy and annoying my husband is allergic and a little poison ivy for him can turn very bad if we don’t take steps immediately to […]
Boy do these playhouses make me wish for the days when my littles were little. They had a nice indoor tepee (we still have it actually) and several cardboard playhouses (remember the ice cream truck) but these take the concept of an indoor fort or playhouse to a new level. And to think I spent […]
Here is a recipe that I made this morning. Not only are these muffins perfect for breakfast but they are sooo yummy and good for you too. They are a great source of whole grains and high fiber, and the flaxseed provides Omega-3 oils. They were a big hit with my whole family. Even when […]
I bought and read (or rather listened to) this book because it was a daily deal from Audible. I used to be a member of Audible because I adore audiobooks and I have earbuds in my ears roughly 40 hours a week. I am not a member anymore because I am pinching pennies but I still […]
Why Popsicle Molds? Do I even have to tell you how fast kids can go through popsicles in warm weather months? I doubt it! Heck, they like popsicles all year long. If you are relying on store bought popsicles then you are wasting money on something that you could easily make yourself. You are also […]
Summer is finally here and for many it’s also time to head to the beach. This year I wasn’t only on a mission to find the safest sunscreen, but I was also determined to discover a few safe-for-the-beach products for everyone....
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Last night I went to the supermarket in search of a watermelon. I was on a mission. What I thought would be a quick trip to the market ended up taking much longer than expected. After arriving at Whole Foods...
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Right now I’m craving summer. Real summer. The temperature feels like summer, but my kids are still in school for another two weeks and I’m working my regular hours. I’m craving a vacation. I’m craving not running out to catch the...
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As the weather warms up, it gets easier to be active outside. The fresh air can motivate you to run a little farther than when you are on the treadmill at the gym. Start tracking your activity, water intake and protect your skin while you are enjoying the summer sun. Get out there and have...