Kitchen witchery and household magic – an audience participation post

KitchenWitchCenturies ago, the term “wise woman” meant a witch. A wise woman knew how to use herbs for healing, could safely forage for food (called wild crafting) and had observed the effects of the seasons and the ways of the world. Today many of us call that savvy woman Mom.

What are your mother’s or your family’s tried-and-true home remedies, recipes and household tips? Every family has them!

Here are a few from mine.

Try the apple cure. Family legend says this treatment cured my father when he had dysentery as a teenager during WWII. Wash and core an apple. Do not peel it. Grate the apple and eat it. This cure will dry up the worst bought of diarrhea. Apples are full of pectin – a fibre that binds. Grating the apple exposes more of its surface and more of its pectin to our digestive tract. As cures go, this one is amazingly effective and very palatable.

Use hot oil for earaches. Heat up some olive or cooking oil to slightly warmer than body temperature (not sizzling hot, please!). Pour ½ teaspoon in the sore ear and stopper the ear with a piece of cotton ball. The oil helps draw out any fluid that is behind the eardrum and causing pain. The warmth of the oil is soothing.

Freeze your fresh spinach and herbs. I store leftover fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, and spinach in plastic bags in the freezer. The greens reduce a bit in volume, but still perform like fresh herbs or fresh spinach for cooking or sauces. Now I always have “fresh” herbs in the house. And because it’s readily on hand in the freezer in any amount I want, I add spinach to everything –soups, spaghetti sauce, risotto, omelettes… you name it. The spinach doesn’t even need chopping; I just grab a handful and crumble it into whatever’s cooking.

Use white vinegar in your laundry. Being the earth mother-loving, frugal type, I try to use green cleaners wherever possible. White vinegar cuts lime, scale and soap film and is antibacterial. I use it for all sorts of household cleaning and recently started using it as my liquid fabric softener (no, my laundry does not smell like a salad). The vinegar eliminates static and cuts any soap residue making for bright, plush fabrics.

What are your household tips, tricks and magic? Please share!