Witch hazel [Hamamelis virginiana] has a long history of medicinal use as an antiseptic & astringent, & is an indispensable household staple. Uses of this plant were passed onto American colonists by the Native Americans, who worked with it medicinally for hundreds of years. A deciduous shrub, it grows easily in the North East. While its leaves, flowers, & seeds all have lovely properties, it is in its bark that the most useful qualities live. Through its bark we can capture the strong astringent & healing compounds, called tannins. This bark is best harvested by pruning the shrubs in late Fall or early Spring. Right now is the perfect time to prune the shrubs & use these branches to make your own witch hazel extract.
With so many of us having a bit more time on our hands, now is the time to pull out your family's favorite Spring Treat recipes & hit the kitchen. I have fond memories of my grandmother baking up a storm every Easter.
With its simple notes or star anise & orange & its brightly colored egg accents, this Italian Easter Bread, or Pane Pasquale, was always one of my favorites. Now is the perfect time to try my recipe for this this fluffy, not-too-sweet treat!
My husband & I were blessed with 2 beautiful girls. When I was diagnosed with MS, I couldn't keep up the pace working retail. We decided on a simpler life, built a cabin in the woods, & moved to mid-coast Maine