citrus peels

Positivity Oil

I made this blend without checking correspondences first. I just threw together all my citrus oils because I love the smell of citrus. Later I checked the correspondences and went “Huh, those work decently together in a magical sense.” Play with the proportions as needed, this isn’t an exact science. Just add oils until you like how it smells. Maybe you like sweet orange more than lemon. idk. You do you, boo.

  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops grapefruit esssential oil
  • 1 drop sweet orange essential oil
  • Sunflower oil base

-Lemon is associated with washing away any negative gunk in both a mundane and a spiritual sense
- Grapefruit is also used for cleansing and purification
- Sweet orange brings love, luck, money, and blessings to the business or home.
- Sunflower oil is associated with the sun, solar energy, happiness, and positivity (also has very little scent of its own, for maximum citrusness)

It’s mostly an oil I use for cleaning/cleansing, with just a smidge of extra niceness added to it. And sometimes I just put some in an oil warmer for no other reason than citrus scents make me happy.

Domestic Garden Witch: Orange You Glad You Saved That Peel?

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

I’ve Got a Peeling!

If you’re not the kind of witch I am (the kind that looks at a citrus peel and sees zest to be added to food), and you tend to juice fruits or occasionally cut open a lime for tequila, then chances are you frequently compost or toss the leftover rinds. This is an alternative to that, which is particularly useful for starting up your own herb garden.

Cut the ends off of your fruit (it can be any kind of thick-rind citrus, such as orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime) in such a way as to flatten the ends without cutting into the flesh. Then cut the fruit in half and remove the flesh for juicing, eating, et cetera. If you then cut a small hole in the flattened end for drainage, you can proceed to fill the makeshift pot with soil, add a seed, and water.

Allow the seedling to grow until it is time to transplant. Then simply plant the whole thing in a garden. The rind will decompose, fertilizing your plant (an excellent source of nitrogen and additional nutrients) and avoiding waste.

How Can I Witch This?

The possibilities here are similar to many container gardens, but there’s a little extra fun that you can have with citrus rinds. Unlike terra cotta or ceramic, citrus peels can be carved. Adding runes and symbols are made easier because of this and if you carve them into the fruit and allow the fruit to heal a bit before using it, you can add additional time and intent to it.

Depending  upon the intent, you may also want to coordinate the type of fruit with the type of spell. For instance, orange peels can promote happiness, healing, and can add a solar association to the garden.

In Conclusion…

Though a simple project, it has a lot of potential in magic and also has a lot of potential in saving money and resources for the student witch. It saves space (something that is also helpful for the student witch), and is a green alternative to other seed starters. Because it is rich in nutrients, it also makes an ideal fertilizer when transplanted.

When getting your garden started, try enhancing your plants’ health and yield by planting the seeds in enchanted citrus peels!

May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(

gouter aujourd’hui.


Herbs, flowers, fruits, wood: The substitutes you can count on!

You’ll probably be using at least one of the above things in most magical workings. Here’s a quick breakdown! 

ROSEMARY: Rosemary can substitute for any herb. Used for its own properties, it is a good component in cleansing baths, can be kept under the pillow to remember dreams, and things associated with memory: memorable impressions, recall, and enhancement of one’s own memory. In cooking, it makes a delicious addition to savory dishes and meats, while also providing a complex flavor to sweet applications. Rosemary infused in honey or tea is strong and tasty, and it adds a sophisticated edge to simple sweets like sugar cookies.

ROSE: Rose can substitute for any flower. Make sure to only get roses for culinary applications or grow your own, since those from a florist will likely contain pesticides! Roses are known for their uses in love spells, but are also used in many applications calling for happy, benign energy. Rose can soothe an angry heart, especially if the anger is due to relationship issues. In cooking, rose is a delicate floral note that can easily be lost under intense flavor, and is best highlighted in sweet or mild applications. Rose petals and rosehips make great tea, and can be jellied for a vitamin-C rich treat. Rose petals can be infused into oil, honey, sugars, and alcohol. Rose water can be used to enhance the flavor, but be sparing—storebought rosewater does not taste as light as homemade, and can overpower and ruin natural floral flavors.

LEMON/ORANGE: Fruit substitutions are less straightforward than others, but lemon, orange, and occasionally apple are considered solid go-tos. Pick whichever is right for the working or recipe, based either on intent or the other spell components! Lemon is associated with water and the moon, and used frequently in purifying and cleansing—both magical and non-magical. Lemon and honey in hot water is a great remedy for sore throat and indigestion, and the smell of lemon will perk you right up on a sleepy morning. Lemon (or any citrus) peel infuses fantastically in sugar, honey, booze, etc. Avoid using pith (the white stuff) and stick to the flavorful zest and juice. Zest is great in practically any baked good, and simply pouring hot water over used lemon rinds will make you entire house smell amazing.

PINE: Pine is regarded as a good substitute for most resins and woods. Pine resin is easy to collect, as are the needles, with a little reading on the species of tree. Pine is thought to banish sickness and bring in prosperity and luck, and often hung over doors or mixed into fragrant sachets to place under pillows. Pine needle tea is bitter, but rich in vitamins A and C; it should be incorporated sparingly to cooking applications, and you may want to enhance it with mint to avoid overuse of the bitter pine taste. In outdoor cooking, pine smells beautiful under a grill or in a fire.

CLARIFICATION: Some people have pointed out that pine can be dangerous to burn due to the high quantities of resin in the wood. This is not untrue! Pine can produce larger quantities of creosote and smoke, due to the resin and tar in logs. However, unless you cook with an all-pine fire regularly, it is not likely to reach dangerous levels (which you wouldn’t anyway, because all-pine fires will make your food taste like a BUTT). I also specified that it should be outdoor flame, since in a wood stove it can cause dangerous buildup. Also, not a great idea to use exclusively pine wood in a fire, as it won’t burn as well/won’t taste great; it’s best when cut with oak. Since pine burns hot, I like to start my bonfire/grill with it, and then pile apple or cherry wood on for the actual cooking an hour later. A few good pine logs/handful of chips will burn well, smell great, and be largely harmless. So like most spell components, research well and use in moderation! 

TOBACCO: Substitute for any poisonous herb. NOT FOR CULINARY USE. It is worth mentioning only in the case that someone is adapting a non-edible spell or ritual into an edible recipe that includes a poisonous herb—NEVER bring toxic plants into the kitchen, at risk of cross-contamination, and instead substitute tobacco by burning a cigarette near the pot (or, if you don’t want that in the house, burning it outside and catching a little smoke in a bottle to bring in). Do not add ashes to the cooking, as they are also poisonous. Don’t let this anywhere near your mouth.

QUARTZ: Not exactly a cooking ingredient, but stones are often used in magic and it is possible to bring them into the kitchen. Clear quartz is a good substitute for any stone you may not have, as it cleanly amplifies energies. While I wouldn’t ever put stones IN something you intend to eat, if you insist on soaking a stone/crystal in liquid recipe ingredients (water, tea, milk, etc), use quartz or another safe stone; malachite, copper, and many other minerals become poisonous when introduced to liquid environments. Don’t put any stone in something acidic, like juice, unless you are POSITIVE it will 1. not erode, and 2. not poison you. Don’t put crystals or stones in overly hot or boiling water, as this could cause them to crack and explode. And if they DO, don’t eat anything with sharp little crystal bits in it! Seriously, treat small shattered crystals like you would glass shards.

Most of these substitute ingredients are entirely edible (or at least mostly harmless) in some form, so if you’re trying to adapt a nonedible spell to baking or cooking, consider using some of these subs in the place of less…digestible…spell components. There are usually plenty of other subs with the properties you need, but these steadfast six are not only reliable, but pretty easy to acquire!

rainbow pride flag, gilbert baker, 1978

pink: for our bodies, for our open mouths
professing love, and sweetness, and fireflies.

red: for our hearts, for oxygen, for the way we
wake up, soothe nosebleeds, the way we put on
lipstick, the way we hide and live despite it.

orange: for peeling citrus, vitamin C, for the
scabs and the inside hurt, cleansing with love.

yellow: sunlight, the color of his shirt, the color
of happy, heaven, maybe, how it feels to be a
part of something bigger than us, how it feels to
be in love.

green: wind chimes, sun through leaf curtains.

turquoise: a splash of paint.

indigo: the way we hold hands, the way we’re
afraid but we do it anyway.

violet: resilience. we are a wave, we are a forest,
burnt but growing.
better - we are the brushfire

Bath Potions

I just wanted to make a simpler post on how to make shower gel spells. They look really pretty and are fun to make and practical cause you can use them any time. Here is a few pictures of mine. (another)

I make these spells to either:

  • Evoke a feeling, put me in a mental state (state of calm, state of clarity, state of alertness to wake up)
  • Attract Something (friends, money, good energy)
  • Banish Something (sheilding, etc)

There’s a lot of other intentions you could do but those tend to be my top 3.

They also look like cute colorful potions and make the bathroom feel more magical.. Aside from the brass cauldron full of drying bath mixes and glitter and powder and strange shit everywhere.

You will need

  1. A bottle of your choice! Glass is the best because it doesn’t leak into the formula and you can reuse it. Squeezy plastic bottles are ok too but glass is preferred. You can get the cool potion-looking bottles at Michaels, AC Moore, Goodwill, wherever. They usually cost $1 each. (Usually $1.50 if they are large).
    If you do buy a glass bottle they have a lot of different shapes and sizes. I use square shapes for protection or stability, round for different mental states or energy, hearts for self love, compassion or attracting love or social interactions, I mean there are many shapes so keep in mind what type of bottle you would like for what spell. If you don’t want to get that complicated then just get the most plain glass bottle possible lol.

  2.  Scentless gel soap. You can get pure liquid castille soap at a few stores, many people love this. I just get a $4 whole foods scentless shower gel brand that works nicely. They used to have this amazing shower gel that was so soft and wonderful at whole foods and I can no longer find it, but it’s called Shikai and it makes your skin feel like angels rubbed themselves on it. I have no idea why I can’t find it anymore.

  3.  (Optional) Oils for the skin. Some oils has its own magical properties but adding argan oil, coconut oil, aloe (not oil, but good for the skin) or olive oil in small teaspoons can help to moisturize the skin or give it a nice glow. Coconut oil is fun cause it separates and leaves a cool milky layer on top and when you shake it the solution is thick and creamy.

  4. Essential oils, fragrance oils, your favorite perfume, flower water, for fragrance. Anything that will help to evoke the feeling or magic you would want. This is a very basic instruction post so its very open ended. Just ingredients for the fragrance. 

  5. Ingredients to help further evoke this magic:  dried herbs, petals, rain water, snow water, crushed ice, decorative glass pearls, seashells, citrus peels, seeds, your breath, eyelashes, black sand, colorful sand, charcoal (great for protection and extracting crap from the skin), home made flower or herb extracts and oils, (great seasonal activity to make fragrance oils from collected flowers and herbs outside), etc. You understand the point. Things that you collect in your craft that’s safe to go on skin and has magical properties. For things like crystals that don’t do well in these types of solutions, use them to charge your solution afterwards by placing them around or on top of the cork.

  6. Optional: Things to give it some presentation such as food coloring, mica powder, glitter (some I have stars or heart shaped glitter in it, its cute and the glitter is too heavy so it rinses off of me).

  7. Your Intent (of course!) When you have all your ingredients gathered in your bottle, they will naturally be separated since oils and shower gel have different weights and textures. When you shake it together fusing them for the first time, make sure your intent is strong, Maybe meditate or take time to focus your energy before doing this!

You can use these things when you need them daily in the shower (High five to those super busy or low energy witches who don’t have the time or energy to do magic everyday!) Usually this can last up to two weeks or if you have multiple, it can last for months so you can feel magical daily by just taking a quick shower with this, plus its way easier than making a bath and using bath salt mixtures (-also to add, I understand sometimes people with low energy have trouble even getting into a shower but when I was in a rush sometimes I would just wash my hands with a solution and feel great).
If you have more time you can pour the whole bottle into a bubble bath! So it works as something for the shower and for a bath! Adding baking soda makes a SUPER foamy fizzing bath. So if you ever need a magical bubble bath you got a cute potion bottle sitting ready to go. They are easy and once you get the hang of making them it becomes really fun too!

  • I have made rejuvenation/calming potions with mint leaves and rain water (colored it a soft green, added light green pearl dust powder)
  • potions to evoke a clear mind with eucalyptus, rain water and sandalwood
  • potions for confidence with honeysuckle, gold glitter, and amber (colored it a deep blue for the throat energy to communicate well). 
  • potions for social attractiveness and attracting good vibes with cherry blossom home made oil and pink heart glitter and sugar fragrance

And then its fun to give them names and write down the recipes in your grimoire (which I have been neglecting to do), usually when I don’t have a name I just call them by what they do like Rejuvination I, Confidence, Clarity, and when I do have a name usually based on how they look and smell I named one Sunburst and the cherry Blossom one Sugar Blossom cause it smells like spring flowers and baked sweets.

I’ve gotten some compliments from this too. Like I have used shower gels to attract friendships or social interactions and people would notice there is an alluring smell and ask about it then I would be like: OH DID YOU MEAN ME?!?! Cause you know, I love it when I smell good ;)  (Also I am a Libra attention seeking ho in social situations)

Anyway I hope this helps. Shoot me questions if you need them to be answered!

a discarded citrus peel resting on the kitchen counter / so comfortable being both beautiful and unwanted / so unbothered by the lack of hands on it / so unlike this body / and the way it catalogs every day it hasn’t been touched / but doesn’t know what to do with the number / just knows it doesn’t feel like a body / when it’s not being used by someone outside of it
Some Quick Sachet Ideas for Attracting Love

Best colors for a Love-Drawing Sachet

  • Pink
  • Gold
  • Green
  • Red
  • White


The Crystal Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Clear Quartz
  • Copper
  • Garnet
  • Jade
  • Moonstone
  • Opal
  • Rose Quartz
  • Serpentine
  • Tourmaline


The Cottage Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Catnip
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa Beans 
  • Copper Pennies
  • Marigold
  • Peppermint
  • Sugar Candies
  • Vanilla Bean


The Flower Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Daffodil
  • Daisy
  • Fresh Flower Buds
  • Gardenia
  • Hibiscus
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Jasmine
  • Magnolia
  • Rose


The Hedge Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Aster
  • Licorice
  • Mandrake*
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Valerian
  • Wood Betony
  • Yarrow

*Handle all poisonous ingredients safely; be sure the ingredients are safely secured within your sachet.  Put them in a plastic bag inside your sachet, if you have to.


The Herbal Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Chamomile
  • Coriander
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme


The Kitchen Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Apple Seeds
  • Avocado Pits
  • Cherry Pits
  • Citrus Peels 
  • Citrus Zest
  • Dried Apricot Slices
  • Peach Pits


The Woods Witch’s Love-Drawing Sachet

Put any / as many as possible of the following ingredients into your sachet:

  • Acorns
  • Clover
  • Elm
  • Fresh Leaves
  • Ivy
  • Juniper
  • Willow Bark
  • Witch Hazel


Feel free to mix and match sachet ingredients in order to create one uniquely suited to yourself! ^_^


geographykhaleesi  asked:

How do you make a good earl grey tea and london fog? I tried to get into earl grey but can't. Please help mom.

Early grey is not something I like. It tastes like furniture lavender polish to me.

I have heard that smoked earl grey is better for those of us who don’t like it, but even then I am skeptical. It’s not the epitome of a classy tea tho which some people seem to think it is either. It was actually blended, oh probably around 1820ish if I remember, as a cheap imitation of the more expensive Chinese teas which were wildly popular in Britain at the time, but also wildly expensive for how much you got to a cask.

Try a nice Ceylon or Assam instead. I find ceylon can take a nice citrus or orange peel rather well.

As for a London Fog, you need a good vanilla syrup to make it work well. I rather like the Torani brand for quickness, it’s made with actual cane sugar and not HFCS which can make it taste very artificial. You can of course make your own vanilla syrup using water sugar and vanilla extract…maybe I’ll do a tutorial, hm. Where was I.

Oh yea London Fog. See the London Fog for me falls down because it uses earl grey. I much prefer to use a nice rich Assam or even a Darjeeling in a pinch, or more preferably a good strong Masala chai. Which I know doesn’t make it a London Fog anymore but w/e, we’ve already established I’m not here for the Earl Grey.

Regardless of what tea you are using, grab your mug, add 1tsp of chosen syrup and brew yourself a nice strong tea, leave it to steep for about 5-6 minutes minimum. I know some people say to brew a sprig of lavender in with the tea, but I personally am not a fan of sadness. 

 While that’s happening, take a half cup milk (or condensed milk if you’re feeling really sweet toothed) and heat it over a gentle heat until you get steam. (If you want it to be frothy you can use a milk frother. I know some people say you can froth milk in the microwave but I am not a fan, not when I know how good steamed milk can be from an actual steamer)

Pour a half cup of tea over your syrup, and leave it to sit.  After that just pour your milk in and watch it sink through the tea like a lava lamp. Then just take a fucking sip babes  and see if it’s to your liking.

If it’s not sweet enough for you, or even if it’s too sweet, try playing around with your syrup mix. 


Just put together the tiniest confidence boost/ anxiety suppressant lil spell jar

•tiny jar (i got mine in an 8 pack from Joann’s for less than 10$)
•hemp (also under 10 at Joann’s. And optional)
•candle of your choice (i chose lavender vanilla bc it’s really calming)

•citrus peels ground small (i dried Cutie peels on the windowsill for a couple days then put them in the blender for a lil bit because my Tendonitis doesn’t let me really use my mortar and pestle)
•sea salt (bought in bulk at any bulk store)
•your favorite perfume (mine is Nude by Rihanna)
•your favorite song aligning with your intentions for the spell

Instructions: put on your music and light your candle. In no particular order. add the salt and peel in layers. I just did one of each, but you can get creative amd make cute lil patterns!!! Then one (1) spritz of your perfume. (I was boppin around at this point. Already feelin great) dip your lil corked jar into the wax and blow on it to cool. I wrapped the hemp around it so i can wear it like a necklace then dunked it in the wax again to double seal it.

Et voilá! A lil positivity jar!!


Healing Spell for a Friend

My friend’s dog recently passed away and it’s left her absolutely heartbroken. Just today I went to a street fair where I intended to get a piece of Jasper for my friend because her dog’s name was Jasper, I found only a piece of Red Jasper and her dog was also red haired- which worked out perfectly! The coincidence inspired me to cast a spell on the stone so that it may bring her healing and warmth throughout her grieving process. Here is that spell (which can be altered to accommodate you and your available materials)

  1. Charge the stone in sunlight, under a small rainbow (created by a glass sun-catcher) for a few moments. Direct your loving energy into the stone
  2. Place it down on something soft while you prepare the loose incense
  3. On a charcoal disk, place dried lavender, chamomile, orange peel, and black salt. (My “orange” was actually a tangerine but any sweet citrus peel is fine)
  4. Underneath the charcoal disk, place white salt & dried rosemary on the sand or whatever material you use for proper and safe charcoal burning
  5. Light two candles on either side of the stone. A lavender for healing and a dark blue to represent grief. One of these flames will light the incense
  6. Light the charcoal disk and set the stone near it
  7. Circle the stone with a wand or your finger while reciting:
    “Healing stone, Warm [her] bones.
    Healing stone, Warm [her] bones.
    Healing stone, Warm [her] bones,
    Though they part, Mend [her] heart.” Repeat as many times as you need
  8. Burn the incense for as long as you see fit
  9. Extinguish the blue candle and pass the stone through the smoke, symbolizing the inevitable grief this person is/will suffer
  10. Hold the stone over the flame of the lavender candle, gradually heating it
  11. Focus your intent into the stone to fill it with healing power
  12. When finished, stick it in a pouch. Tie strings in one knot, stating “so mote it be.” Now keep it safe until gifting it to your person!
Composting in Witchcraft!

I was eating breakfast this morning, peeling my clementine and wrapping the peel around itself to resemble a rose, thinking about getting out to my garden to do some weeding, and I think I just had a really good idea: using compost as a part of the craft!

Green witches, hear me out! What about using your compost pile as a way to make offerings, “bury” spells, charge sigils, etc? Each item added has its own correspondence! The options are endless!

🌱Citrus peels to bring happiness
🌱Coffee grounds for success and motivation
🌱Egg shells for protection
🌱Sigils written on banana peels
🌱Food offerings wrapped in lettuce leaves
🌱Decaying plants to represent the cycle of life, death, and rebirth
🌱Herbal tea leaves for whichever correspondence you like!
🌱Using sun, moon, or crystal water to add intention
🌱 The actual process of composting helps charge sigils and cast your spells

This is something I am definitely going to have to play around with! Feel free to add your own ideas and correspondences! This is just what I’ve come up with off the top of my head, but I’d love to hear your input! 😊

Originally posted by butteryplanet

witch tip: citrus peels.

when peeling your fruit, remove as much of the pith (the white fleshy stuff inside) as possible. wash the the pieces of peel (you don’t want dirt or anything else to get into your spell right?), then leave them out to dry somewhere they’ll be undisturbed. i leave mine about one day on one side, then flip them over so I know both sides will be completely dried out. 

once they’re dry, you can break them into small pieces or grind them as fine as you want. grinding them may take a while so I would suggest doing that in advance of when you’ll need them. 

I use lemon and lime for purification and banishing, orange for happiness and positivity, and tangerine for a potency boost to whatever i’m doing. feel free to use your own correspondences, of course!

  • Sagittarius: You know, there are some marvelous flu remedies known in the certain remote parts of the subcontinent. Licorice root, for instance, combined with bamboo sap and a strong shot of whiskey. Ginger root, also, mixed with, uh, citrus peel.
  • Gemini: And a strong shot of whiskey?
  • Sagittarius: Yes, of course. In fact, you can throw out the ginger root and citrus peel, and still be well in your way.

winds0fchange19  asked:

Hi! I was trying to find witches who practice green witchcraft or work with plants. I am considering starting to grow flowers and cacti, probably in pots, but I was wondering if you know anything i should know before I start working with plants?

YES. I’m sorry if it’s a bit unorganized, I’m a wee tipsy.
🌿 Research how frequently you should water things. From seeds you always water daily but once they hit a certain age some plants definitely need less water. 
🌿 Adding citrus peels, egg shells, banana peels and coffee beans are a great natural munchie for plants - I wouldn’t suggest doing just coffee beans but a combination of any of them are fine. I wouldn’t suggest feeding them plant food until their adults though just because it’s really simple to over feed them. But it’s okay to throw some eggshells in the beginning.
🌿 Cacti are sweet babies! They’re low maintenance and great for beginners, if you haven’t looked into aloe I would. :)
🌿 Plants need different types of soil!!!! Make sure you give your babies the right type!! Most herbs/flowers will grow fine with generic plant soil but cacti need a combination of sand and soil. I wouldn’t suggest beach sand because it’s easily weighed down and your soil won’t be a solid mixture.
🌿 If your plant indoors you don’t have worms!! Oh no! Poke little holes in your soil (after their healthy sprouts) to make sure the soil isn’t compacted. 
🌿 Talk to them babies!! Feed them carbon dioxide!!!

Gardening Tip

Adding citrus peels of any kind to your garden makes great compost, adds nitrogen, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, and more nutrients your garden will thrive off of, and attracts butterflies and bees. The best way to add them is to dry them and powder and add the powder to your soil. If you are unable, it is also okay to place the peels about plants or bury them near the roots.

The Wiccan’s Glossary

Culinary History (Part 36): Preserving

In medieval Europe, protein foods such as meat & dairy could only be eaten fresh during summer and autumn.  In the winter and spring, they would be smoky or salty, because this was the only way to stop food from going off.

Any meat that wasn’t eaten straight away after killing the animal was salted – layered up with huge amounts of salt in a large wooden cask.  This expensive to do – in the late 1200’s, 2d of salt was necessary to cure 5d of meat – so only good-quality meat was salted.

Pork took salt the best.  The Elizabethans had bacon, ham, salt pork, and gammon (the hind leg after being dry-salted or brined).  There was also souse – a pickled mixture of all the leftover bits except the squeak.

Glazed gammon.

Beef was also salted to make salt beef.  One version of salt beef was Martinmas beef, prepared around the feast of Martinmas (November 11th).  The beef was well-salted, then hung in the roof of a smoky house until it was well-smoked.

There is an urban myth that medieval cooks used spices to disguise the taste of gone-off meat, but this is not true.  Spices were too expensive to waste on bad meat, but they were used to make the salt meat taste less harsh.

Milk was preserved as well as meat.  In the East, it was curdled & fermented into yoghurty foods and sour drinks, such as the Kazakh kumis (a fermented liquor made from mare’s milk, used as a drink and medicine).


In the West, it was turned into cheese and butter, both highly-salted for preservation.  In Aelfric’s Colloquy (late 900’s AD), the “salter” says that “you would lose all your butter and cheese were I not at hand to protect it for you.”

Their butter was extremely salty.  Butter today has about 1-2% salt, but they had 5-10x that amount.  According to a 1305 record, 1 pound of salt was needed for only 10 pounds of butter.  This would be disgusting to eat, and the cooks had to spend a lot of effort washing salt out of butter to make it edible.

Fish had to be salted, too.  The Scottish kipper (salted, pickled, or cold-smoked herring) was not invented until the 1800’s.  But before that, there was a kind of cured haddock produced near Aberdeen, smoked over peat & decayed moss.  They were called Bervies (also Buckies & Smokies? or were they a different type of fish/process?)

Salted cod.

Salted/pickled fish was a staple European protein food, especially on Fridays.  Even before the Classical era, there had been a good trade in salted fish – first from Egypt and Spain; then from Greece and Rome.  In the Middle Ages, salt herring came from the North and Baltic Seas, where it was a major industry.

Salt herring is not easy to produce, because it goes off so fast.  It should be preserved within a day (preferably less).  In the 1300’s, the manufacturers developed techniques for salting herrings on board, and this made it a lot faster.  The fish were re-packed when they got back to shore.

The Dutch were exceptional at this, which may have been one of the reasons they dominated the European market.  Their herring-gutters could process two thousand fish an hour when at sea.  Because they did it so fast, they accidentally left behind a part of the stomach containing trypsin (a chemical which speeds up the curing process).

Only eating fish preserved and not fresh would have been very monotonous, and there are many jokes about this.  In A Pleasant Comedie, called Wily Beguilde (Anon, 1606), one character says to another, “You dried stockefish, you, out of my sight!”

A “red herring” was a rather smelly cured fish which had been double “hard-smoked” and salted.  It is now a literary term.

Sweet preserved foods were much nicer to eat.  In the Mediterranean, the most common way to preserve fruit & vegetables was to dry them.  In this way, grapes became “raisins of the sun”, plums turned into prunes, and dates & figs shrivelled up and became sweeter.  During Biblical times & earlier, juicy fruits & vegetables were either buried in hot sand, or laid out on trays or rooftops.  The hot sun easily dried them out.

In Eastern Europe, the sun was less hot, so they had to develop more complicated methods.  From the Middle Ages, special drying-houses were built in Moravia (CZE) and Slovakia.  A drying-house was a room heated by a stove below it, with many wicker handles inside to hang the fruit on.

The English nobility had “stillrooms”, cool rooms where servants bottled fruits, candied nuts & citrus peel, distilled spirits, and made jams, marmalades (originally from quinces) and sweetmeats.

Candying had many alchemical superstitions and “secrets”.  For example, walnuts should be preserved on St. John’s Day (June 24th). Fruits for preserving were picked just before ripening, because they held their shape better that way.  Preserving was a kind of magic, like embalming the dead, of holding back decay.

Hannah Wolley’s The Queen-Like Closet (1672) gives a recipe for “The best way to preserve gooseberries green and whole”.  They were soaked three times in warm water; then boiled three times in sugar syrup; and finally boiled once more in a fresh sugar syrup.

Even though people had no idea why these methods worked, they succeeded in preserving most of the time.  It wasn’t until the 1860’s, when Louis Pasteur discovered the micro-organisms that made food & drink go off, that we found out.  People believed that the reason was spontaneous generation, with mysterious invisible forces causing mould to grow.  In reality, it’s microbes such as bacteria, yeast and fungi that cause good fermentation for wine & cheese, and toxic fermentation when food degrades.

Drying works as a method of preservation because bacteria need moisture to grow in, and so when the fruit dehydrated, they mostly die off.  Pickling in vinegar works because microbes prefer alkaline conditions, and the acid stops mold from growing.

There wasn’t much innovation in preserving, because mistakes could be deadly.  From the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 1800’s, the only innovation was conserving meat in a layer of fat/oil – used in potted meats and duck/goose confit (salt-curing a piece of meat, and cooking it in its own fat).

Duck confit.

  • Regis: You know, there are some marvelous flu remedies known in the certain remote parts of the subcontinent. Licorice root, for instance, combined with bamboo sap and a strong shot of mandrake hooch. Ginger root, also, mixed with citrus peel.
  • Geralt: And a strong shot of mandrake hooch?
  • Regis: Yes, of course. In fact, you can throw out the ginger root, the bamboo sap and citrus peel, and still be well in your way.

ate one of the ripe calamondins for breakfast today, home grown and organic, holy fudge! that was a damn good citrus fruit. the peel was the best part of it, so tasty!

hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 🌺🍋☀