Lavender is one of my most treasured plants here at Naturally Knotty Farms. It versatility, beauty make it a staple here on the farm. Up here in the northern climates, it is best to grow English Lavender because of it’s hardiness. Any other type will not survive our harsh Canadian winters. There are several different types of English Lavender (too many to list here), but I’m sure you will find one that suits your needs. French Lavenders are not well suited to our Canadian climate.
Planting & Care of Lavender
When growing Lavender, be sure to choose a site with well-drained soil and at least 6 hours of sunlight. The roots do not like to be wet, so if your soil is heavy clay, be sure to add ample mulch into the hole before inserting your plant. Plant 12″ apart or more depending on the variety of Lavender you have chosen.
New plants are small and may require some mulched straw around the base of the plant to help it survive our winters.
Container or Indoor Lavender
Lavender will grow well in pots in the right conditions. Choose a pot that is 2″ – 5″ larger than the root ball. The pot must have good drainage and choose a growing medium that drains well. A soilless mix works best; peat, vermiculite and perlite will work well and can be found at any reputable garden center. If roots are soggy for any length of time, a root rot will quickly develop and will kill your lavender.
Container-grown lavender can be outdoors all summer long. During the summer the plants will need plenty of water and fertilizer. Apply a liquid fertilizer of 20-10-20 about once a month. After bringing them inside in the fall, give lavender a lot of sunlight. Stems will weaken without enough sun. Artificial light indoors can work well and you may be rewarded with mid-winter blooms.
Pruning lavender, whether in pots or in the ground, will keep them attractive. as much as 1/2 of the stem length can be taken off without any damage to the plant. Frequent pruning may delay blooms, so it is best to prune in early spring before blooming or late fall when the flowers are done. A small hedge of well-clipped lavenders make as excellent border for a small herb or flower garden.
One of my favourite aspects of growing Lavender, has to be harvesting! The lovely, fragrant blooms are especially easy and rewarding to harvest as they hold up well with little care. Choose to harvest when the flowers are out, but not fully open. Harvest in the morning just after the dew has dried. This is so the essential oils (what gives the plant its fragrance) won’t lose their quality when exposed to the heat of the sun. It is best not to pick when the plant is still wet as it will take longer to dry. Cut the stalk below the flower, where it meets the leaves and the stalks tied in bundles and hung to dry in a dry, airy, warm place without any direct sunlight.
You may choose to leave the dried flowers on the stalks as a decorative piece or, as I do, remove the flowers from the stem. Store your flowers in a dark, air-tight glass container for use later.
This plant has been highly regarded for its medicinal properties for years. Just smelling the fragrance is said to relieve headaches and it has been believed to cure everything from cramps, migraines, tremblings and even a broken heart. Personally, I have found Lavender Essential Oil on my temples as the best way to relieve a migraine. It is also great for easing the itch of a sting or insect bite. I also use the essential oil as a sleep aid by rubbing it on the ball of my big toe at bedtime. The fragrance of the flower is said to be calming and can ease anxiety or stress.
1/2 cup dried Lavender
1/2 cup dried Hops
1/2 cup dried Lemon Balm
Mix all ingredients and fill a small cotton or muslin bag. Place under your pillow for a restful sleep.
This also make an excellent gift for anyone recovering from illness or injury.
If your child struggles with Anxiety, give them a bag to carry in their pocket.
Yes, Lavender is classified as an herb and is edible. As most of you know, I make Lavender Jelly with some of my dried flowers. I will share the recipe if you comment below. Lavender pairs well with Lemon, so adding it to your sugar cookies, lemon bars or other lemony deserts will create a delicate floral hint to your baked goods.
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender
Add lavender to a food processor and grind to a fine powder.
Add in sugar and mix to combine well.
Store in an air-tight glass jar.
Making your own lavender sugar is so easy, you might find you always want to keep a jar of it at hand. It can be added to beverages (try it in lemonade or tea) and baked goods, as well as whipped cream and butter.
This recipe can be easily scaled up or down. If you make a large quantity, it’s easiest to do in smaller batches in the food processor.
There are many other ways to incorporate lavender into your cooking or baking. Lavender cookies are a simple sugar cookie lightly flavoured with lavender and they are dreamy!
The perfect, refreshing drink on a hot summer day!!
Steep 1/2 cup of dried flowers in a quart of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Strain & use the liquid to make up part or all of the liquid when making frozen lemonade from concentrate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender to impress your guests.
You can use lavender sachets in your drawers to keep your clothes smelling fresh or make a larger sachet to cover your electric heating pad. Add the dried flowers to your bath water for a relaxing soak after a long day, stressful day.
The possibilities are endless. Please comment below with your favorite way to use lavender.
This Pizza Dough will impress your fussiest dinner guests! Pizza is a quick, simple dish with endless possibilities.
Pizza has always been a huge hit in our house, mainly because of the versatility. This recipe was an experiment last summer when we had way too many tomatoes in the garden and I was desperately seeking ways to use them.
A basic pizza dough recipe requires water, eggs, flour & yeast. I substituted the water for crushed tomatoes and the recipe was born.
I use my own dehydrated jalapenos to add a little zest to the dough, but you don’t have to do this.
In the summer, I use fresh ingredients to make the flavors pop! 2 tomatoes will replace the 500ml jar of processed tomatoes, 1 diced jalapeno and as much or as little fresh, diced herbs as you like.
The Best Way to Dress Your Best Ever Pizza Dough
Follow these simple steps to create your very own show-stopping pizza:
Gently spread your sauce making sure to get right to the edge, but not on your crust.
Liberally apply your cheese (I use a blend of cheeses) Your cheese should also go right to the edge.
Have your toppings prepped and ready to go while your dough is rising.
Chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms are all fairly standard pizza toppings, but you can get creative!
Meat lovers Pizza – diced ham, pepperoni, bacon
Rancher’s Choice – grilled chicken, bacon, onion, spinach. Use Ranch dressing in place of pizza sauce.
Cheesy Garlic Bread – Bake dough for 10 minutes, spread garlic butter & cheese, bake for additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Best Ever Pizza Dough
Not just a bland, ordinary pizza dough. This one is full of flavor, texture & can be adapted to suit your taste.
1 500 ml jar of processed tomatoes (drained of extra fluid)
1 tsp Instant Rise Yeast
2 tsp dehydrated jalapenos (optional)
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Warm your oven by turning it on for about 5 minutes, then turn it off, keeping the door closed.
In the food processor, add tomatoes & eggs, blend well.
Add seasoning to the tomato, egg mixture
In a large mixing bowl, combine tomato mixture, yeast & flour. Blend in all the flour to make a sticky dough
Lightly dust the counter top with flour, turn out dough, scraping the bowl clean.
Dust the dough with flour and begin kneading. Add more flour as you knead until the dough is no longer sticky and forms a ball.
Oil a mental bowl and place dough ball smooth side down, then turn over to smooth side up.
Cover with clean tea towel & place in warm over to rise (approximately 45 minutes)
Prep your pizza toppings, including pizza sauce
When dough has doubled in size, punch it down & turn onto lightly greased pizza pan.
Using 2 hands, gentle shape dough to your pan, creating a crust around the edges.
Place back in the warm oven for another 15 minutes to rest.
Add sauce, cheese & toppings to your pizza
Bake at 450 (F) for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted & crust is lightly toasted.
This is not your average Pizza Dough. This dough is light and packed with flavor!
1 – 16″ pizza (regular crust)
2 – 12″ pizza’s (thin crust)
You can substitute any seasonings to create a Greek flavor or even an Asian flare. The possibilities are endless!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more ideas on creative pizzas!
Have your tried this recipe? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!
Some observational studies, which can’t prove causation, have also linked consuming apple cider vinegar with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. However, other studies have linked it with an increased risk of bladder cancer (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Overall, there is insufficient evidence to make any claims regarding the effects of apple cider vinegar on the risk of cancer.
7. To Make an All-Purpose Cleaner
Apple cider vinegar is often a popular choice for a natural alternative to commercial cleaning agents. This is because of its antibacterial properties.
Mix 1 cup of water with half a cup of apple cider vinegar, and you’ll have a natural all-purpose cleaner.
However, it’s worth noting that although vinegars such as apple cider vinegar can kill some bacteria, they aren’t as effective at killing harmful bacteria as commercial cleaning agents (18Trusted Source).
8. To Soothe a Sore Throat
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for sore throats.
It’s thought that its antibacterial properties could help kill off the bacteria that could be causing the problem. However, there is no evidence to support its use in this way.
If you try this at home, make sure you mix the vinegar with water before gargling.
Or try this Fire Cider to boost your immunity to the common cold & flu.
Anecdotally, apple cider vinegar is claimed to help remedy skin conditions and reduce the signs of aging.
As such, many people like to use apple cider vinegar to make a skin tonic.
The general recipe is 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water. This is then applied to the skin using a cotton pad. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to make a more diluted solution.
10. To Trap Fruit Flies
Fruit flies can be a pest.
Interestingly, it’s really easy to use apple cider vinegar to make a cheap fruit fly trap.
Simply pour some apple cider vinegar into a cup, add a few drops of dish soap (so that any trapped flies sink) and you’re good to go.
11. To Boil Better Eggs
Adding vinegar to the water you use to boil or poach eggs can help you produce consistently good eggs.
This is because the protein in egg whites firm up more quickly when exposed to a more acidic liquid (21, 22).
When you’re poaching eggs, you want the egg whites to firm up as quickly as possible so that the eggs keeps their shape.
Using vinegar when boiling eggs can also speed up the coagulation, or clotting, of the egg whites. This can be useful if the shell cracks while the egg is being boiled.
12. As a Marinade
Another way to use ACV when cooking is to make a marinade.
In fact, apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in many steak marinades, as it gives the meat a nice sweet and sour flavor.
Combine it with wine, garlic, soy sauce, onion and cayenne pepper to give your steak a delicious flavor.
13. To Wash Fruits and Vegetables
Pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables can be a concern for many people.
That’s why some people like to wash their fruits and vegetables in apple cider vinegar. The hope is that it’ll remove more of the chemical residues than water alone.
Although it’s not entirely clear if it will remove more pesticides than simply washing with water, it may help kill any dangerous bacteria on food.
You can also use apple cider vinegar to clean dentures.
Although there’s no consensus on the best method to clean dentures, it’s thought that the residues left by apple cider vinegar could be less harmful to the skin in your mouth than other cleaning agents (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERGet our twice weekly Women’s Wellness email
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For the same reasons people like using apple cider vinegar as a homemade facial toner, they also like using it in the bath.
If you want to try it, add 1–2 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath water and enjoy a soak in your tub.
16. As a Hair Rinse
An apple cider vinegar hair rinse is said to remove product buildup, detangle and add shine to your hair.
Try mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water and pour the mixture over your hair. Leave it in for a few minutes before washing it out.
If you have sensitive skin, then you should try doing this with a weaker dilution first, as the vinegar is quite acidic.
17. As a Dandruff Treatment
Massaging diluted apple cider vinegar into your scalp may help get rid of dandruff.
It’s unclear how effective this is, but the theory is that the acid in the vinegar could help stop the growth of the fungus Malassezia, which may contribute to dandruff.
18. In a Sauce
Apple cider vinegar can be a great ingredient for a tangy sauce for your food. Try adding it to tomato-based sauces to give them a fuller flavor.
19. In Soup
Adding vinegar to soup can help bring its flavors to life.
If your favorite homemade soup tastes a little bland, try adding a little vinegar to it at the end. Add it gradually until the soup tastes great.
20. As a Weed Killer
Another great use for ACV is as a homemade weed killer.
Spray undiluted vinegar on unwanted weeds in your garden to get rid of them. You can also try mixing it with soap and lemon juice to see if that makes it more effective.
21. In Homemade Cakes and Candies
Apple cider vinegar is a popular flavor and texture enhancer in baking, especially when making vegan treats that can’t include eggs.
It can also add extra flavor to homemade candy and caramels, like in this recipe.
22. In a Hot Drink
Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into 12 oz (355 ml) of hot water for an alternative hot drink.
23. As a Mouth Wash
Apple cider vinegar is often said to be a useful alternative to commercial mouthwashes.
Its antibacterial properties may help with bad breath, although there aren’t any studies examining how effective it is.
If you try this, make sure you dilute it well with water (the usual amount is 1 tablespoon for every cup, or 240 ml, of water), as the acidity of the vinegar could damage your teeth (28Trusted Source).
24. To Clean Your Tooth Brush
To have really clean teeth, it’s worth considering how clean your toothbrush is.
Given that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties, you can use it as a homemade cleaner for your toothbrush.
To make your own toothbrush cleaner, mix half a cup (120 ml) of water with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of ACV and 2 teaspoons of baking soda and mix well. Leave the head of your toothbrush in the mix for 30 minutes.
Make sure you rinse your brush well before you use it, as the acidity of undiluted vinegar could damage your teeth.
25. To Whiten Teeth
Apple cider vinegar is acidic, so some people like to use it to remove stains and whiten their teeth.
To try this, rub a small amount of apple cider vinegar onto your teeth with a cotton swab. The results aren’t instant, but repeated use could remove stains over time.
Written by: Andrea Scarborough, Naturally Knotty Farms
I first discovered a recipe for fire cider years ago. It didn’t sound like something I wanted to try immediately, but when I read about the immune-boosting benefits I decided to be brave and give it a try. Years later, it’s a staple at our house around cold and flu time.
Fire cider is a traditional recipe that contains garlic, onion, ginger, cayenne, vinegar, and raw honey. The original recipe calls for horseradish, but for the sake of the kids I typically substitute echinacea root.
Fire cider harnesses the beneficial properties of onion, garlic, ginger, and herbs, plus vinegar and raw honey for a nourishing drink with a little kick.
How Does Fire Cider Taste?
Judging by the ingredients in the recipe, you might not expect it to taste very good. I didn’t either and I was quite pleasantly surprised by the taste. I’ve even tried it on salads as a dressing and it has a mild peppery and sweet vinaigrette flavor.
In the winter months, I sometimes take a teaspoon or so of this a day or use it on salads. If illness hits, I’ll take that dose every few hours or add a tablespoon to hot water or herbal tea a few times a day until I feel better.
For the kids, I reduce the cayenne or leave it out and they don’t mind the taste too much since the honey helps balance out the vinegar taste.
This Pizza Dough will impress your fussiest dinner guests! Pizza is a quick, simple dish with endless possibilities. Pizza has always been a huge hit in our house, mainly because of the versatility. This recipe was an experiment last summer when we had way too many tomatoes in the garden and I was desperately seeking… Read more: Best EVER Pizza Dough
Bone broth has become very popular recently, especially among health-conscious individuals. This is because it’s believed to have many health benefits. Although there is no published research on bone broth itself, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests drinking it may be very beneficial. This article takes a closer look at bone broth, how to make… Read more: 6 Reasons Why You Should be Making Bone Broth