Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scented Geraniums in the Garden and Kitchen

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A Rose-scented Geranium cultivar in our Garden

Geranium
Pelargonium graveolens of the plant family Geraniaceae is a spreading aromatic shrub which grows 2-3 feet, and is used frequently in Aromatherapy, skin care, and perfumery. This plant originated in South Africa, and now grows worldwide. One of the main areas of cultivation is Egypt. We use this herb or its essential oil in many of our Aquarian Bath products, and now you can discover more about this remarkable herb.
 

From Garden to Kitchen
There are many cultivars of Pelargonium with different scents. In our garden we have Rose Scented Geraniums and Lemon Scented Geraniums. I have found these geraniums are exceptionally easy to cultivate from cuttings, with nearly a 100% success rate. All that is required is a little pot of garden soil. Put the fresh cut stem into the soil and add water every 2-3 days. Mountain Valley Growers boasts 24 varieties of scented Pelargonium. A few of those include Apricot, Cinnamon, Lime, and Ginger.  
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Lemon scented Geranium has a Citronella type scent.
What can you do with fresh Geranium leaves? Fresh geranium leaves can be included when making fruit jams or jellies. Linda Reed has a dedicated pinterest board for geraniums and geranium recipes. The list goes on and on, starting with lemonade, mojito, cakes, and cookies. 

 
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Our lemon scented Geranium cultivar at high magnification.

Geranium Lemonade or Limeade Concentrate Recipe adapted from cook.com 
Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar* (not GMO beet sugar)
10 rose-scented geranium leaves
1 cup fresh Organic lemon or lime juice
ice water, to serve

Directions:
In a small pot boil water with sugar. Remove from heat, add leaves and let infuse 4-10 hours. Squeeze out the leaves well. Add lemon or lime juice. Pour the solution into a bottle and refrigerate. To serve, add 1 T of this concentrate to 1 cup of chilled water and mix well. Serve over ice in a glass garnished with a small scented geranium leaf of rose petals. The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. 
*You can use honey instead of sugar if you add the honey to the cooled boiled herbal infusion. Boiling honey is not required or recommended.
Another fun thing to do with geranium leaves is to make an herbal vinegar. You can use the vinegar in salad dressings, or for making a diluted vinegar hair rinse, which can be helpful for people make the transition to shampoo bars. With a little creativity, there is basically no limit to what you can create in your kitchen with this remarkable herb.
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Geranium essential oil, together with Bulgarian Rose wax, Lavender and Cedarwood scent Aquarian Bath’s popular Rose oil shampoo bar for normal to dry hair types.
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