Marc For Me!
OH what to do with these beautiful wild berries? These fragrant fir needles, and mushy ginger wonderfulness??
Sometimes I feel like I strain an herbal and it talks back to me: "Please don't throw me away!!! Use me!!!" And so I do my best to waste not, want not.
ALCOHOL or ELIXIR BASED MARC:
Elderberries, black cherries, or various fruits left from making elixir (alcohol/honey) or tincture can be added to apple cider as it ferments into hard cider. It's incredibly delicious.
Citrus rinds from making extracts can also be added to your cider, but do especially well as a marinade for ham, flavor bits for desserts, or crazy fun garnishes for herbal cocktails.
Conifers can be used for all of the above - but my favorite thing to do with confer needle marc is make TEA. I place the marc in a teapot and cover it with boiled water, steep about 15 minutes, and thoroughly enjoy.
Baths are a wonderful way to use marc which is more medicinal and less tasty, like willow, yarrow, or mugwort. Simply stuff the marc into a muslin baggie and let infuse as the tub fills.
OIL BASED MARC
Can also be used for a lovely bathing experience:
Stuff a muslin baggie with your oil/herb marc halfway, and fill the rest of the way with dead sea salt, or Epsom salts, and a wee squirt of castile liquid soap. Voila! You've got your self a lovely pre-shower salt&oil treatment. Just sit on the edge of your bath (it can make the floor slippery), moisten the bag a little, and scrub away. Then just let the bag hang out in your tub or shower with you while you breathe in the lovely subtle herb aroma.
If your oil based marc is more of an edible - you can re-infuse it using VINEGAR.
Such might be the case with nettle, violet, dandelions, mugwort, or birch. It will look strange as the oil and vinegar dance in the jar, but yummy and useful for dressings.
If it's less tasty, consider this method for creating facial tonics, hair rinses, or liniments! Such might be the case with willow, alder, echinacea, or bitter tasting pine needles.
This one's easy - just place your fragrant marc in a pot, (be it sage, lavender, rosemary, chamomile, what have you) cover with water, and turn in on the lowest setting. Alternatively, you can use a crock pot on low with the cover off, or a pot on the wood stove. Feel free to enhance it with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
FREEZE THE REST
Marc can be frozen. I almost always freeze the remains of my St/ Johnswort oil (that kind of pattie you get at the bottom, you know?) because is makes an amazing first aid ice.
I love to freeze all the marc I can for the above purposes, and find it adds to my sense of abundance and respect for the plants I harvest immensely.
I love that I can grab some elderberry elixir marc from the freezer if I want to make a fun salad dressing, or if I've run out of cherry blossom honey, I'm thankful for the extra blossom tincture marc I remembered to freeze.
It's a practical luxury.