We are very happy about today's guest contribution from herbal expert Dorothee Dahl. Her latest book WILDE FEUERKRÄUTER is about the power of plant extracts in various forms. Kombucha, Oxymel, Fire Cider, Water Kefir - they all contain concentrated herbal power that strengthens the immune system and tastes delicious. For us, Doro dealt with the combination of our high-quality ritual cacao and herbs. She shares her experiences and favorite combinations and gives tips for preparing them at home.
Wild herb cuisine
There is always something going on in my herb kitchen. Plant extracts, for which I use medicinal plants that I collect in the wild or that grow in my herb garden, bubble, mature and infuse in various jars. The fire in the wood stove is burning and there is a new approach in the cast-iron pot almost every day, which sometimes fills the whole house with its scent. There are always new experiments in which I test preparation methods, combinations and of course the taste, so that the healthy power of the herbs can show their effect.
Which herbs go well with cacao?
At some point I had the idea of working out the most delicious combinations with the already very tasty cacao from Cacaoloves.me. Today I present you the best recipes from my herb-cacao-kitchen. You may already know chili, mint, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom as deliciously healthy cacao partners. Today I will show you green garden and wild herbs that you can combine with raw cacao.
Since the cacao should not be heated above 42 degrees so that the nutrients are retained, we also have to take this temperature into account for the herbal extract. All the herbs used are a bit firmer, so they are first crushed in a mortar and then added to the cacao. This allows the cacao to absorb the essential oils and plant substances even at a lower temperature.
The best combination of effect and taste
Theoretically, you can add all medicinal herbs to the cacao and let them steep, depending on what your body or soul needs at the moment. In my experiments, I went in search of a successful combination of effect and taste. I worked with solo herbs and mixed different herbs. I'm happy to show you which recipes made it into the final round.
There is a basic recipe for this, in which you first prepare the cacao as you are used to. If you need help with this, please have a look here.
You leave the cacao in the pot and add as many ground herbs per cup as will fit in the hollow of your palm. If you're using dried herbs, use a little less.
It's a nice start to your herbal cacao session if you hold your hands with the herbs in front of your nose and breathe in the scent deeply. You will definitely notice how good it is for you.
Then the herbs are allowed to steep in the cacao, the stove is switched off. At my house, I leave the cacao on the very edge of the wood stove so it doesn't cool down too much. You also have the same effect if you simply leave it on the plate of the electric oven. Stir several times over the next 15 minutes and then reheat the cacao with the herbs, always so that it does not get hotter than 42 degrees. Then pour the herbs through a sieve and put the cacao in your favorite cup or in a thermos for later. Of course, you can vary the amount if the cacao tastes too strong or too little of herbs.
My favorite: cacao with thyme - a taste explosion
I use thyme officinalis because its tart note resists the strong taste of cacao. Both flavors complement each other to create a warm, spicy taste explosion that also enhances the effect of the cacao. Thyme is supposed to give courage and strength and that is very appropriate for the intention that everyone takes with them individually to their cacao ceremony. In this way, thyme can help to implement the wishes and ideas that arise during the ritual and to take the next step courageously and powerfully. Thyme is also a good support when you have a cold and if you like, you can add some thyme honey to the cacao.
Cacao for the evening - Relaxing and calming with lavender
Lavender smells and tastes very strong, so start with a little less and increase the amount according to your taste. I like the flowery, tart taste, which I amplify by adding some acacia honey. For the vegan version you can also use agave syrup or maple syrup. Lavender is good for inner restlessness and stress, promotes sleep and is relaxing. Lavender stands for purity and also for memory, humility and stillness. Let the lavender cacao accompany you into a clear, calm mood.
Kraft cacao - Stimulating and balancing with rosemary
Rosemary is also a good helper with stress and tension, but has a stimulating effect and is a source of strength for everyone who wants or has to break new ground. The herb, which is also tart and spicy, goes very well with the earthy, warm note of the cacao, I think. Do not use if you have high blood pressure.
Purification and Protection: Cacao with Sage
If you like the strong aroma of sage, you can use this combination to prepare a cacao that helps you let go of what no longer serves you and at the same time protects you. It is best to take the small fine leaves that form first in spring. Then the sage does not taste too strong, but smells noticeably and conjures up an impressive power drink from your cacao. The mild sweetness of acacia honey also goes well with sage or, quite neutrally, some rice syrup.
The magical three: cacao with roses, lavender and sage
For this cacao I use dried rosebuds that I picked in the garden last summer. Please do not take any roses from the bouquet, they are guaranteed to be sprayed. You can also get the buds in organic quality from herb or tea dealers. The rose is the symbol of life and rebirth, it represents love and tenderness. You can drink this cacao when you feel vulnerable and want loving support. The lavender balances and the sage gives you new strength.
Full plant power ahead!
Would you like to get more involved with healthy plant extracts and discover which herbs best suit you and your life? Then my new book WILD FIRE HERBS is just right for you. The book shows how to make effective herbal extracts, powerful elixirs, unique water kefir and delicious herbal lemonades. You get specific instructions, uncomplicated recipes and helpful tips as well as inspiring photos from the well-known food blogger Janine Hegendorf and completely new ideas bring a breath of fresh air into every herbal kitchen.
And now have fun experimenting. What is your favorite combination and what does it do to you?