Crafting 3 – Equipment for Herbal Crafting

I have deliberately kept the equipment required for my herb crafting recipes quite simple. You may already know that permaculture ethics are a central part of my life. A key feature of permaculture systems is that multifunctional items are used. So, rather than buying special equipment to make your herbal preparations, I urge you instead to invest in a few good quality items which can be used for all sorts of jobs. My kitchen equipment is used for everyday food prep, storage and herbal crafting.

Consider buying good quality equipment in second hand stores or flea markets or look out for what you need on sites such as Freecycle and Facebook. Often, what you seek to find, someone else seeks to pass on! I found a stainless steel funnel-sieve in such a place. It is perfect for directing my morning nettle infusion into a tall jar and cost next to nothing.

Rosehip honey in a Kilner canning jar. The lid can allow for expansion and bubbling.

Herb Crafting Equipment

My herb crafting equipment list covers everything needed to make all of the recipes in this course. Most of the items can be found in most kitchens. As mentioned above, try to avoid buying special tools which will only be used for one job and do ask in the forums, when you need ideas for alternative items of equipment.

Small saucepan with well-fitting lid, heavy based – (for making infusions, decoctions etc).
Le Creuset style, 1.1 litre cast iron enamelled pans are very useful. 

Bain Marie set up - (for gently heating oils).
I use my small heavy based saucepan and lid with a Pyrex bowl. The bowl balances comfortably in between the pan and lid. I add some water to the saucepan and when heated on the stove, the contents of the glass bowl are warmed more gently than if they simply sat in the pan.

Measuring jug or cup
1 litre capacity should be sufficient.

Stirring utensils
Wooden spoons, bamboo chopsticks or knitting needles (for stirring and releasing air bubbles).

Straining fabric
Muslin cloth / Jelly bag / Very clean tightly-woven tea towel / Cheesecloth

Kitchen Sieve

Glass jars and lids
Selection from small and shallow to tall and wide mouthed. I save used food jars (from tomato passata and pesto mostly) and occasionally buy large Kilner or Fido preserving jars for larger quantities of dried herbs and for making things in. These often turn up at second hand shops and the rubber seals are often replaceable when they eventually dry out. I always replace the rubber seals when I obtain old jars. All jars and pots must be sterilised - such as by cleaning and drying in the hot cycle of a dishwasher.

Cheese grater
Fine gauge for preparing beeswax.

Measuring spoons
Teaspoon, tablespoon.

Labels
Sticky food labels / Glass permanent marker pen / Card tags and strings etc

String
For tying and drying herbs. Use natural fibers such as hemp or nettle.

Rubber gloves
For squeezing heat infused oils from herb

Cutting
Kitchen knife / Herb blade
Kitchen scissors

Chopping board (I prefer wood)

Paper bags
For collecting, drying and storing herbs. I save clean, once-used paper bags from shopping.

Mugs

Tea strainer (or use kitchen sieve)

Old big socks
A tip from Glennie Kindred - if you can't store herbs in a dark place them put storage jars in old socks to keep them dark.

Luxury extras 
(I love these and they can make herb crafting easier but they are unnecessary)
Herb drying rack - Try making one. I use willow.
Teapot
Herb infuser (for making herb tea in a mug)
Pestle and mortar
Liquidiser/smoothie maker
Juice Extractor
Measuring cylinder (100ml is very useful)
Electric or hand blender
Spice grinder
Funnel with integral sieve
Ceramic vat with a tap at the bottom (for herb wine)
Small Droppers or dropper bottles (30 – 50ml) for dispensing tinctures.
Tiny biscuit cutter (for lozenges)
Bread maker

Unit Assignment
In the Crafting Forum, post a comment about any of the main crafting equipment listed here which you may need. Have you seen any of the luxury extras for sale in interesting places?


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