How to Make Spruce Syrup

How to Make Spruce Syrup

Ah, the smell of Evergreens … This is a scent that can transport you to a winter landscape. Even if you live in a tropical place like us, there are ways you can feel like you’re on a mountain overlooking snow-covered trees.

My latest favorite is crystallized Spruce needles and with those, Spruce Syrup!

As part of this month’s Spruce Exploration Deep Dive in the Inner Sanctum, I crystallized some real Spruce tips and made a simple syrup with them. (If you don’t have any Spruce trees near you, you can order them from a beer supplier here.) I imagined I was a homesteader or wilderness person, wishing to preserve the feeling of Spruce, the smell of winter into a simple syrup—since I don’t have maple trees to tap. It’s been the best addition to my water.

DIRECTIONS:

A simple syrup is just sugar and water together in a 1:1 ratio. So, I boiled water and added the sugar till it dissolved, as I did for the crystallization project. I immersed the remaining Spruce sprigs, wood, and needles, along with the rest of the sugar mix I had used. Simmering on the stove, I kept it on low so I wouldn’t lose the essential oils. I must say it smelled like something delicious was cooking! After a few hours, I had to add more water as it thickened! So I added more water and left it overnight in the fridge. Then I simmered it again the next day till it smelled perfect and was the right consistency.

Once it cooled, I strained out the spent needles and let it cool further before decanting it into my bottle.

I now use it to flavor and sweeten my daily water glasses.

Watch Sylla share why she loves her Spruce syrup so much.

First, I add some warm water in the bottom of a large tumbler. Then I add about a tablespoon of syrup, mixing it and adding ice. Finally, I top it off with room-temperature distilled water (my choice).

There are many ways to use this simple syrup! It could be used in hot tea. It could also be caramelized till it’s thick and brown—to be drizzled over desserts … The uses are endless.

I already know I should have made more …

Have you ever crystallized an Evergreen? How do you like to use it? Tell us all about it below!

 

Why You’ve Got to Learn the Latin Names

Why You’ve Got to Learn the Latin Names

Ever since my parents started dating, they’ve called each other, “Buddy.” Whenever my dad was in his home office and my mom needed his attention, she’d yell up the stairs, “Hey, Buddy.” One day, when I called home to talk to Mom, Dad went to find her in the backyard garden and yelled from the porch, “Hey, Buddy.” I know this because I could hear it through the receiver.

Cards will be addressed to “Buddy,” and the two of them will even say, “I love you, Buddy,” before leaning in for a kiss.

The thing is, no one else calls either one of them Buddy. Since I’m an only child, I call them plain ol’ Mom and Dad, and no one else does that either (except for Mom’s adopted aroma-kids!).

I share this odd and personal tidbit to emphasize that we do the same thing with plants—give them names that we know them by—even when they have proper names.

What’s important to understand here is that every essential oil you work with comes from a plant that has an official Latin binomial. Also known as a botanical name, these identifications help us know exactly what plant we’re dealing with.

It’s like the difference between asking to talk to “Buddy,” which could refer to either one of my parents (or the millions of other people out there known as “Buddy”) and asking for Sylla Sheppard-Hanger (Latin for amazing aromatherapist and Mom to Nyssa).

Now, you might think each plant has a Latin name, like our first and last names, and possibly one or more common names, right?

Well, not exactly. Sometimes plants have more than one Latin name.

Before you think plants are just trying to keep us on our toes, keep this in mind: we’ve only been officially classifying plants since about the 1700’s. And since Carl Linnaeus laid the foundations of binomial nomenclature, we’ve learned a lot more about how to study plants and better classify them. So plant names may change species, genus, or much less often, family, and it takes time for everyone to catch on. That’s why many resources (like your books) will list several names if present.

Watch Sylla and Nyssa explain why they love Latin names in the video below.

Now we want to know, what’s your favorite botanical name?

Which one do you just love to say?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Enhance Your Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Enhance Your Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Just a few days ago, Carolina Jasmine flowers appeared in my yarden. They are always the first to remind me that spring is coming.

Enhance Your Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

(And just for the record, “yarden” is not a typo. Since my yard is really mostly a garden, that’s what I like to call it.)

Not only are these flowers a reminder to get on my springtime honey medicine-making, but they’re also a signal that it’s time to let go of the old stuff left over from winter. I mean metaphorical “old stuff,” like emotions that no longer serve us, but also some literal stuff, too. I’ve cleaned out so much that I’ve been turning to essential oils to deal with all the dust! Adding essential oils to my spring cleaning helps deepen my connection to the earth as well as my own personal growth.

For me, this has included clearing out and decluttering my office to make room for new projects coming up. Nyssa and I recently sat down in the newly cleaned office to share more about what inspires us this time of year.

Learn how to enhance your spring cleaning with essential oils.

In this video, find out:

  • The symbolic meaning of this time of year, called Imbolc
  • My current sinus and allergy blend (and how I use it to make aromatic honey!)
  • Our favorite aromatics to stay grounded, while also preparing to grow

 

It’s time to bloom from the ground up…we’re celebrating Imbolc at the Atlantic Institute LIVE from the Inner Sanctum. #imbolc #innersanctum #carolinajasmine #timetobloom #syllinyss

Posted by Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy on Friday, February 2, 2018

 

We did this spur of the moment on Facebook Live and had the best time! Thank you to all those who tuned in. Be sure to follow us, so you can catch us the next time we decide to hit Go Live.

After watching this video, let us know:

  • Did you plant seeds last year that are just starting to stir?
  • What can you clean up or clean out to get ready for new growth?
  • What essential oils are you using to enhance your spring cleaning?

Leave us a comment here, or join the conversation on our Facebook page to see what our other viewers had to share.

Of course, anytime is a great time to take a look at your life, learn from where you’ve been, and gather the right tools to move forward. Thank you for letting us be a part of your next transformation!

Aromatically Yours,

Sylla

Calendula from the Yarden

Calendula from the Yarden

Blooming on Schedule

I’ve never grown Calendula before, but I got some seeds at our local market from someone else with a yarden (a garden that covers the entire yard). I planted the seeds last fall and finally, I have plants!

In light of this, I am trying my hand at infusing an oil. I’ve never done this before, so I will let you know how it goes. If you have any advice, please leave a comment!

My colleague, Jade Shutes, has a great Calendula PDF on her school’s website. It says that the name Calendula comes from the plant’s affinity to bloom on schedule. How funny, we thought, because we’ve been working towards blooming on our own schedule!

We officially launched our new website today in celebration of the Spring Equinox. You can enter to win a free book or class here.

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