About this Book

There are many books about Kitchen Witchery. They include tables of correspondence, seasonal recipes to celebrate holidays common to Witchcraft traditions and recipes with whimsical names that evoke magical energies, spells that protect the home and amusing anecdotes that allow us to peek into the personal life of the author.

I love these books and I have many of them, but I wanted this book to be different. I wanted it to be deeper and broader; to look into the very heart of Kitchen Witchery and, rather than tell the reader how to go about it, to give the reader the tools to create their very own Kitchen Witchery, unique to their personal paradigm, their situation and their household and family structure.

To do this, I am focusing on combining basic cooking techniques with a deep familiarity with kitchen tools and ingredients, including historical, nutritional and esoteric aspects of them while encouraging the development of a lifestyle and worldview that deepens your relationship to your food, so that it it can become almost something like a spirit ally. In doing this, I believe I can help you to develop your own intuitive method of incorporating magic into your kitchen activities.

Of course, you will also find an exhaustive appendix of tables, plenty of recipes- some of which are included for their traditional aspects and others are included to familiarize you with various cooking techniques and to give you ideas for how to incorporate them into your Kitchen Witchery. Many ingredients are explored in great detail and I also explore substitutions for people with dietary restrictions or simply access restrictions. Because I believe that Witchcraft is about partnership with Nature, I’ll be talking quite a bit about how to work with Mother Nature toward your Kitchen goals, including lowering the footprint of your kitchen and using food to honor natural cycles of life and the seasons.

In writing this book, I must make some assumptions about my audience. First, I assume that you have some basic kitchen skills and a basic set of kitchen tools and appliances. I am not assuming you have an expensive stand mixer or even a microwave (I don’t) but I think it’s fair to assume you have a stove, an oven, a refrigerator, a variety of pots and pans and various devices for cutting and mixing. Because I know different people have different things in their kitchen, I will often give you more than one method, using different tools, if possible.

Next, I will assume that you have a foundational knowledge of magick and some tradition that you work within. I am not assuming what the tradition is, but I am assuming that you already have a framework within which you cast spells. If you do not, I humbly suggest that you read my previous book, Simply Magick. This book isn’t going to explain to you how to set up a spell or charge an item specifically and it doesn’t even have a bunch of chants and incantations in it. There are lots of outlines of spells, but I am expecting you to use your own background to add the sparkle.

And while I am assuming things about you, I shall tell you a few things about me. First, you should know that I am not just a Kitchen Witch but also a homesteader and this greatly informs what I eat and how I prepare it. My tradition is my own, derived from family wisdom as well as long years of study, some of it academic. I am a geek. I was raised by a German-American mother and a Nigerian immigrant father in a largely immigrant community. Oh the food I grew up with. Oh the stories I heard.

My degree is in Cultural Anthropology, concentrating on Religious Studies and I minored in Biology focusing on Botany. Though I sent my eldest son to culinary school, I have never had any formal kitchen training myself. (He tells me I use my knife wrong.) I do have some food sanitation safety training because I work in the medical industry providing home care for hospice and dementia patients. In addition to food magic, I engage in wortcunning and some hedgeriding and I’m a bit of a folklorist. My other hobbies include gardening and raising poultry and rabbits. (It all comes back to food in the end.)
I am not vegan and I do not have any special dietary restrictions and, as such, I do not have expertise in these areas. However, I do try in this book to off substitutions and alternative techniques for those who are on specialized diets in hopes that it will prove useful to as many people as possible.

The Craft of the Kitchen Witch

A Kitchen Witch is first and foremost excellent cook with a creative flair and mastery of the kitchen. What makes meals prepared by a Kitchen Witch different from those prepared by an excellent but otherwise mundane chef is that meals served by the Kitchen Witch create an atmosphere that draws the sort of energy the cook has determined is appropriate to the occasion. A Kitchen Witch prepares and serves meals with intention; each ingredient carefully sourced and selected for maximum potency and combined with the others in a way that enhances each ingredient’s natural energies while infusing them with the Kitchen Witch’s own Will.

But there is more to Kitchen Witchery than just selecting ingredients based on their energetic properties and chanting while mixing your batter sunwise. You want it to taste good, to look good, to smell good- to bring them to the table. You want your food to be nourishing and to make everyone you set a plate in front of feel cherished. Indeed, your entire home is a haven for magic and the energies that you value and cultivate, your cooking a mere reflection of that.

10 Steps to Kitchen Witchery Awesomeness
1. Maintain your home as sacred space
2. Keep your workspace organized and your tools in good shape
3. Know your ingredients
4. Honor the source of your food and your tools
5. Find the magick in everything you do
6. Cook and eat seasonally
7. Be generous
8. Practice gratitude
9. Cook and eat what you enjoy most
10. Never stop learning, practicing and experimenting

Simply Kitchen Witchery Chapter 1 Sanctifying Cookery

simply-kitchen-witchery-chapter-2-sustainable-kitchen

Greening the Kitchen
Many who practice Witchcraft proclaim an affinity for Nature and many proclaim belief in her divinity. It is my belief that those who revere nature should do our best to nurture her as well. The kitchen provides us with many opportunities to perform small actions that can add up to a big difference in your environmental footprint.
The places you choose to shop and the items you buy impact your environmental footprint in a significant way. Unfortunately, for most of us, where our food comes from is not something we have any say in. The food comes to us from the store in little packages. Some of us do not have a lot of options. Some of us, faced with a choice of two items with different price points, do not have the budget to purchase the one produced in a more environmentally friendly way. You must do what is best for your situation and take comfort in knowing that the way you handle your food after you bring it home can be just as impactful as where it came from originally. I have a large lists of suggestions here for reducing your environmental footprint. Take what is feasible for you and leave the rest for someone else to pick up for now.
Where Does Your Food Come From

For most of us, our food comes from the grocery store and we don’t have much choice in the matter. Both geography and budget can limit our food choices. While we all have our own unique situations to work from, it is a good idea to keep in mind where our food comes from. Much of our food comes from monoculture. That is, the intensive growing of a single crop. Huge fields are stripped of their native vegetation, plowed, disturbing the natural bacterial and fungi colonies that support the native fertility of the land and planted with a single crop that is then doused with chemical fertilizers designed specifically for that crop and sometimes with pesticides and herbicides.

Genetically modified crops might be designed in a laboratory to resist certain herbicides that might otherwise kill the plant so that it can be dumped on the field and kill everything but that plant. At the end of the growing season, it is then stripped of the crop and all the nutrients and moisture retention capabilities stored in it. These grain nutrients, may then be shipped over to overcrowded feedlots to be fed to grazing animals, who were designed by nature to forage on grass, causing them to gain excessive weight too quickly for their health. These animals are then killed, chopped up, and sent to your local grocery store in neat little Styrofoam trays covered with plastic film. Vegetarian eaters get to skip the whole animal step, which lowers their food carbon footprint significantly, but the majority of their food comes from Earth-stripping monoculture too.

Okay, this is an extreme, worst case scenario example. Many farmers still fertilize with manure and many use crop rotation and other common sense methods to maintain the fertility of the soil and we do have animal welfare laws. But there are crops and animals that are raised like this because it is the cheapest, most reliable way to get a lot of product to the market quickly and it is extremely damaging to the environment. Unfortunately, these are the foods that are most accessible and least expensive for the average person. If you want to step into more sustainable foodways, you’re going to have to spend money and/or time to do it.
Grow Your Own
The absolutely most sustainable way to feed yourself is to grow your own food, provided you do it in a sustainable way. This means using natural fertilizers preferably produced on site from waste products to build nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining soil and, if you are raising meat, providing them as natural a diet and lifestyle as possible, also preferably sourced on site. While I am convinced that a family of four can be fed on an intensively managed acre, I think it’s about a 5 year process to get to that point and it won’t fit in this book. The best most people are going to manage is a bunch of really good salad in the summertime and maybe some canned tomatoes, pickles and sauerkraut to enjoy during the winter. That is something though. Every tomato you pick from your garden is one that isn’t shipped across the country and doused with unknown chemicals- not to mention the huge improvement in taste.

As an added bonus, a garden takes up lawn space, which means less mowing and more flowers for butterflies, bees and other pollinators to enjoy and a more alive yard for you. Gardeners also are driven by necessity to observe the rhythms of nature, which I find enhances my own spiritual practice immensely. So even if all you can manage is a tomato in a bucket or a little patch of herbs (I recommend sage, parsley, Roman chamomile and thyme as easy keepers) in your side yard- grow something. It’s good for the Earth and your soul.

If this seems like an extreme challenge to you, just pick one thing you eat often and start with that. Do you love fresh tomatoes? Do you often eat salads featuring romaine lettuce? Perhaps you are a huge fan of fresh basil? Any of these can be grown quite easily in a small space outdoors or in a pot or two inside or on a patio. Choose one plant, grow it. If you kill it, do some reading and then try again until you get it right. When this becomes easy for you, add another plant to your repertoire.

Connect with Local Growers
The next most sustainable way to feed yourself is to buy direct from the producer. A search on Google or Facebook will find farms near you, and remember that urban and suburban farms are on the rise these days. Facebook hosts many homesteading and urban farming groups that may give you access to farmers who don’t sell to the general public but might be willing to deal with you on an individual basis. Many urban and suburban farms also operate as Community Supported Agriculture, which allow you to pay an upfront fee for a share of the year’s harvest. Buying locally gives you the opportunity to actually observe the farm’s operation and connect with the growers. You can see if the farm conforms to your standards of ethics regarding food production and put money directly into the hands of people with similar values.

If you can’t find a local farmer to buy from, you may be able to purchase food directly from a farm online. Often you will have to buy in bulk to make shipping the product worthwhile for the farmer. Some warehousing sites, like Amazon will act as a go-between to make it easier for both you and the producer.

You will also want to look into visiting your local farmer’s market. Most municipalities hold a farmer’s market at least once a week through the summer months into the harvest season. Even if you do get most of your groceries elsewhere, it’s worth a trip to your local farmer’s market. Here you will find small farmers as well as crafters selling their goods, usually at reasonable prices. You can ask questions about their process and sometimes even make requests.

Grocery store choices
Even if you are able to do all of the above, you will likely find yourself at the grocery store at least once in awhile. If the grocery store is the only place you ever get your food, you’ve still got very good options. Looking at labels can tell us a lot about what we’re eating, even if it’s difficult to get the whole story. I like to look at the origin of the product, as I prefer one that is locally produced. This means it has had less distance to travel than other products might have and that lowers its carbon footprint.

Other labels tell us a bit about how the product was grown. Unfortunately, some of this labelling costs the food producer money in the form of certifications, inspections and other red tape and that cost gets passed on to us. Some labelling means nothing yet increases the price anyway. Let’s take a look at some common food labels.

Hormone Free - indicates that hormones were not given to the animal for any reason during its lifetime. It is illegal to give hormones to hogs or poultry, so this label means nothing on pork and poultry products.

No Antibiotics- Means that the animal did not receive any antibiotics in its lifetime.

Free Range is a standard applied to egg laying poultry only. It means that it had some access to the outdoors, but does not specify how much.

Cage Free - means that the animals were raised without cages. It does not imply how much space they had or whether they were raised indoors or outdoors.

Natural and All Natural - “Natural” means that the product does not contain preservatives or artificial coloring or flavors. It does not say much about how the animal was raised. All natural isn’t defined by the USDA. We can assume it means the same as Natural, but not necessarily.

Pastured- Means that the animal spent at least some time in its life outdoors on pasture.

Grass Fed- means that the animal spent some time eating grass on pasture. This does not necessarily mean they weren’t fattened on grain too and it says nothing about the amount of space they are given to graze in.

Organic and 100% Organic - Foods labelled organic must contain 95% organic ingredients and 100% organic must contain all organic ingredients. Producers must be certified to use this label, and periodic inspections are done to ensure they are meeting requirements. They may not use any petroleum or sewage-sludge based fertilizers, bioengineering, growth hormones, antibiotics, or ionizing radiation. For meat products, the feed fed to the animals must also meet organic requirements and the animals must have access to the outdoors. Foods carrying the organic label often cost more to offset the cost of certification, but costs do go down in time and some certified organic foods are very reasonably priced.

There is no organic standard for seafood. Thus the organic label on seafood could mean anything or nothing.

It is important to keep in mind that you are not going to find a lot of certified organic producers at your local farmer’s market or your local small farms. Many of them do follow organic principles but simply haven’t certified. My own crops are not organic because I only use compost and manure for fertilizer and not all of the food that ends up in my compost is certified organic- the alternative is to buy organic fertilizer and I won’t be doing that. I don’t sell in enough quantity to make certification cost effective anyway and I am really not comfortable with the idea of the government popping in to inspect my property.

Made with Organic Ingredients means that at least 70% of the ingredients in the product are certified organic.

Fresh just means it wasn’t frozen.

Non-GMO Project Verified - Means that the product was created without using genetically modified organisms and that it was tested and certified. For animal products, the animal’s feed was tested. The certification for this label costs money and the cost may be passed on to consumers. There is no labelling requirement in the US for products containing genetically modified organisms.

As you can see, product labels alone are not terribly helpful in determining the sustainability of our food. You can often find more information about a company’s practices if you look on their website and you can always call them if you have more questions. But don’t get so hung up on the sourcing of your food that you start to obsess or feel paralyzed. You should buy what tastes good that is in your budget and please read on. There are other, less costly ways to lower your ecological footprint in the kitchen. Some of them will even save you money.

How is your food packaged?
One of the biggest problems with food we buy at the store is the waste associated with it. Not only do we in the US throw away almost half the food we buy, almost 45% of our landfills consist of food packaging waste. Food packaging is necessary to maintain the quality of the food from its journey from the supplier to your table, but some packaging is more environmentally friendly than others and this often has no effect on the price of the product. You can therefore choose based on other factors such as availability of recycling, whether you are able to reuse the packaging and the sustainability of the processes that were used to create the packaging in the first place.

Food Packaging Origins
One of the first and most obvious questions we can ask ourselves is where the packaging came from and what impact its creation had on the environment. Both plastic and Styrofoam are made of petrochemicals and you should have this in mind when choosing to use them. Paper and cardboard are often made of wood fiber and toxic chemicals are sometimes used in their processes, but most paper and cardboard packaging are now made of recycled material. The production of glass containers pumps out quite a carbon load, but they do tend to be recycled over and over, as do metal containers.

Many companies will label their containers if they’re recycled, but just because they aren’t labeled as such doesn’t mean they aren’t. If you favorite product is lacking this information, visit their website and, if it doesn’t say, shoot them an email inquiry.

Recycling food packaging
Most food packaging can be recycled, but not everywhere. Styrofoam, single use pouches and plastic bags are especially problematic while hard plastic, metals and paper and cardboard products can be recycled at most facilities. If you have a recycling service or a drop off area near you, study their list of acceptable materials carefully and ask questions if needed to make sure you understand clearly what they accept and what needs to be done to each item to make it suitable.

Plastic bags and films are often not accepted in regular recycling pickup as they tend to get caught up in the conveyor belts, but there may be special drop off locations for them. If you can’t find the item you need in a container other than a plastic bag or without plastic film, buy the biggest package you can afford. Then you will have fewer bags to deal with. And be sure to reuse plastic shopping bags or bring them back to the store for recycling. Better yet, bring your own bags or ask for paper.

Single use pouches and cartons are often not accepted by recycling services. I prefer to buy (or make) larger quantities, and package them in smaller containers for the road.

Styrofoam is also not accepted at many facilities even though it takes up more space by weight than most other things that end up in landfills. I avoid Styrofoam packaging as much as possible and if I order something to be shipped to me and it shows up packed in Styrofoam, I will not order from that vendor again. It is just too hard to dispose of properly. At the grocery store, most meat is packaged in a Styrofoam tray, but if you go to the meat counter you an get it wrapped in paper. Unfortunately, the meat on sale is usually the meat in the Styrofoam and you’re going to pay more at the meat counter. Eggs are occasionally packaged in Styrofoam, again, unfortunately, usually the cheapest eggs. I raise my own meat and eggs and buy very little meat in the store, but I know this isn’t an option for most people.

Metals, including aluminum foil containers, are the easiest things to recycle. Glass and hard plastic are also very easy to find a recycling facility for. Plastic labelled #6 is most commonly accepted, and plastic that has been laminated is not accepted at most locations.

Paper and cardboard that hasn’t been saturated with food/filth or covered with plastic is also pretty easy to recycle. Even “shiny” paper can be recycled, as long as it’s not made shiny by having something extra glued on top of it (like glitter). This includes card stock, corrugated cardboard, brown paper bags, and cardboard egg boxes.

Re-Using Food Packaging
I am a habitual re-user. When we first got together, my husband laughed at me because I will sometimes pay more for an item that came in a pretty package that I could re-use. Now he points out the cool packages. Re-purposed glass jars (with a strip of black chalkboard tape, neatly labelled in white) make up the majority of my kitchen food-storage. This is a result of a frugal matriline. I recall a childhood full of uncertainty about whether the cottage cheese container contained cottage cheese… or something else. I too reuse cottage cheese containers, but I don’t usually put them back in the fridge because I have heard that not all plastic is safe for reuse with food.

When shopping for products for an eye toward re-purposing, look for products that have durable containers with lids that can be replaced. A sturdy container with a lid that peels off and can’t be reattached is probably of no used to you, except maybe to hold your pencils, and the peel-off lid probably isn’t even recyclable.

You don’t have to keep the things you re-purpose forever. Sometimes it’s nice to have something we can use a few times before we recycle it. I use old coffee cans (both metal and plastic, we get what’s cheapest) for scooping things, mixing up stuff for the garden and kitchen scraps in waiting for their trip to the compost or the barn. These tend to get lost, chewed on and otherwise abused and eventually end up in the recycling bin and I didn’t spend money on a special container for kitchen scraps I’m going to cry over. I also use them, and various plastic food containers, as scoops in big feed buckets. Likewise, big plastic vinegar jugs- I use these for hauling water around. Before long they start to look a little unclean and into the recycling bin they go. I buy grains for human and animal consumption in large 35-50 lb bags - the paper ones get recycled or used for sheet mulching in the garden, the plastic ones get reused as garbage bags, sometimes I sit on them when I’m working in the garden on a wet day to avoid a soggy bottom, and they can also be made into bags. A plastic mesh bag, the sort onions come in, can be placed over a washcloth to make a handy pot scrubber that you can dispose of after its usefulness has waned.

There are, of course, hundreds of really creative and crafty ways to make use of food packaging material you would otherwise throw away and I’m sure I can’t list everything here, though I invite you to check my blog (at sacredhearth.com) where I will continue to explore this subject. I am also interested in hearing your ideas and what you find in your online searches.

Reducing Food Packaging
Unfortunately, reducing food packaging often comes at an expense. The apples that are on discount are usually the ones in the plastic bag, not the ones in the bulk bin that you can put in your reusable produce bag. Likewise, the meat at the counter that comes wrapped in paper generally costs more than the meat in the Styrofoam coffins displayed under the “Sale” sign. Sometimes buying in bulk saves money, but it comes at a larger upfront cost. Still, we are going to talk about it.

Buying in Bulk
One method for reducing food packaging is buying in bulk. This can also save you money in the long run, though it often requires a larger upfront expenditure. Sometimes buying in bulk means filling your own container from the bulk bin, thus eliminating the food packaging issue altogether, but often it means buying a larger package. Still, a larger package is less wasteful than several small packages. You should buy the largest package you can afford, but only if you have the means to store it and will use it up before it spoils. Bulk food packaging should be subjected to the same critical eye toward recyclability and re-usability as other packaging. I find bulk grain bags make good garbage bags, after a bit of a trim with the scissors.

Buying direct
Another method for reducing food packaging is to purchase your food directly from the producer, or as close to as possible. Sometimes this requires purchasing in bulk, but not always. Many small farms have little shops or stands where you can purchase items and place them in your own container. Some dairy farms will even collect deposit on their containers so you will return your empties to them. Most fruit sellers will also take back berry baskets and other containers. Even those who don’t often package their produce in paper so you can at least recycle or compost it.

If you do not have a farm within a reasonable distance to you, there is probably a farmer’s market. Most towns or counties maintain one. Unfortunately, farmer’s markets tend to be scheduled within a very limited time frame and have a reputation for being very expensive, but locations and individual vendors vary and you might get lucky.

Get Loud
If you are not pleased with the packaging choices your favorite food supplier has made, write them a letter, give them a call, shoot them an email or all three. Let them know that you are a customer and you care about their packaging choices. If you get to talk to a human in this process, ask them why they choose the packaging they do.

Where Does Your Food Go?
It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of food is wasted every year in the United States. Imagine that for every three bags of groceries you buy, you just toss the largest in the garbage on the way to the kitchen. That is almost as much food as the average household buys and throws away in this country on a regular basis. Grocery stores and restaurants throw away even tons of food that is past it’s prime and way too much based on attractiveness- because ugly food doesn’t sell well, but not nearly as much food as is wasted on the consumer end. While many producers also throw away quite a bit of food, most sensible producers find a use for unattractive food and the leftovers of food processing or sell them to someone else who can use them. While it is frustrating to know that we can’t do much to change the behavior of businesses who engage in wasteful practices, the only behavior we can reliably control is our own. More than half of all food waste is on the consumer end anyway.

When we throw away food, we are wasting all the land that was harnessed into growing it. We are disrespecting the living beings whose literal bodies went into that food. And we are wasting the money we worked hard to earn so we could buy that food.

The good news is that you can reduce food waste in your household with simple habits that also save money and time and make food preparation easier and more organized. In fact, I am afraid that you’re going to be annoyed with me when you read other sections of the book where I repeat myself. Just consider that the more I mention something, the more important it is.

Good Shopping Habits
We can start reducing food waste at the grocery store. Begin by making a list of the items you need and only buying those items. Excess items bought on a whim are more likely to be wasted, unless they are the sort you eat on the way home. Be honest with yourself about what you will definitely use up right away and what you’ll likely store for awhile. Sometimes choosing to buy frozen or canned food is the difference between having green bean casserole and having moldy green beans if you aren’t able to cook a meal for a few days.

If, however, you know you’ll be able to cook something within the next day, it might pay to see if your store has a less-than-perfect vegetable rack, or a day old bread section. Overripe bananas can go right in your freezer for adding to banana bread recipes or smoothies later (they turn completely black, but they’re still okay). Bad bits can be cut off of most fruit and bread, as long as it isn’t moldy, can go into bread pudding or stuffing- and you can just pop it in the freezer if you aren’t going to use it right away. If you store doesn’t have a discount rack for its aging merchandise, ask them why not and what they do with it instead.

On the other hand, if you want the freshest and best quality food, shopping in season is the way to go. Food that is purchase in the same season it is harvested not only tastes better, it usually costs less, has been through less processing and has had a much shorter distance to travel than food that has to be shipped in from far away. I often hear people complain about the flavor and price of oranges in June. June is not the season for oranges. Don’t buy oranges in June. Buy them in November through March. If you must have oranges in June, buy canned oranges. Likewise, tomatoes in November- canned is the way to go. A tomato in November is an affront and pomegranates or roasted beets are great on winter salads. Often, when food is in season, you can get such a good deal that it is worth it to buy a large amount and freeze, dehydrate or can it for out-of-season eating.

Proper Food Storage
An important step in reducing food waste is making sure your food is properly stored in the first place. Food that is properly stored will last longer than food that isn’t. Labeling and dating food as it goes into your house or goes into storage will encourage you to use it up in good time. In the food section of this book, I will discuss proper food storage techniques for all the foods I discuss. Learn them and follow them. Anything you bring home that isn’t on the menu for this week should be put into long term storage immediately. And don’t forget to label them!

When you buy large quantities of food at one time, like that 10 pound package of ground beef that was 99 cents a pound or a 50 pound bag of flour, divide the large package up into smaller single-use packages immediately upon bringing it home. Meat, for example should be divided into freezer storage containers in the amounts you need for a meal, for my family this a bag with four portions in it. If I’ve got a big container of ground meat, I might make a huge batch of fully cooked meatballs and freeze them in aluminum foil pans for a dinner shortcut one day. Flour and other grains should also be frozen if you won’t be using them within a month as their oils can go rancid or the bugs can find them (sometimes the grains bring the bugs with them!). I fill up the canister that lives in the kitchen and store the rest in the freezer. I even do this with my animal feed, because grain moths are terrible things!
My favorite containers for food storage are aluminum trays, freezer safe deli containers and canning jars.

Pre-Prepping
While you’re making sure all of your groceries are properly stored for maximum freshness, you can take the time to pre-prep for your meals. You can chop some vegetables and store them in the fridge for meals you’ll be cooking the next few days and save yourself the trouble of doing it after a hard day’s work. I like to boil a few potatoes (in their skins) and also boil some eggs. Pre-boiled potatoes fry up quick, and are ready to mash and they keep in the fridge about 3 days. Boiled eggs make good, quick snacks and can be sliced into a salad, made into egg salad or a sandwich, or combined with those potatoes into a potato salad.

Beans can take some time to prepare, so soaking and boiling them now will save me time later. Likewise, yeast bread dough can keep in the fridge for about two days before you need to do something about it and pie crust can sit for a day. While I’m mixing dough, a batch of homemade pasta can go straight into the freezer after cutting and directly from the freezer to a pot of boiling water whenever.

Meal Planning
One of the simplest ways to reduce food waste is to plan your meals ahead of time. Some people really find this task to be a fun half-hour of me time once a week. I do not like this chore, but I am always glad later that I took the time to do it. And I am always annoyed with myself when I skip it!

When I have an established menu that has taken into account what I have on hand, the food will get used up and it will not go to waste. Having a menu planned ahead for each day also eliminates those annoying evenings when it’s nearly dinnertime and I haven’t a clue!

Clean out Your Fridge (And Pantry and Cupboards and Freezer)
I try to make it a habit to clean out my fridge once a week, my cupboards and pantry every few months and my freezer at least once a year. This ensures that whatever is in there that I’ve forgotten about, I can be reminded and make use of it before it’s too late. I just empty everything out, wipe it down and put it all back neatly.

Managing Leftovers
I know people who don’t eat leftovers. I can’t wrap my head around that. If you don’t eat leftovers, then you should carefully plan your meals so you don’t get leftovers. Otherwise, it pays to learn to deal with leftovers.

First, your leftovers need to be stored properly. If you are going to eat them within a few days, they should be refrigerated within an hour after you’ve prepared them. That is, right after dinner. Use a marker that you can wipe off later, but not one that is going to wipe off if it’s just brushed casually, to mark the date on your leftovers. Eat them quickly. If you do not think you’re going to get to your leftovers within a few days, they should go into the freezer.
If you have enough leftover to make a complete meal, consider putting an entire meal, complete with sides into a freezer-safe container to make a sort of TV dinner. If you have a microwave, or someone in the household works in an office with a microwave, you can package these in containers that are also microwave safe for quick lunches. Otherwise, they can go in foil pans for heating up in the oven.

If you meal plan, you can plan your meals to make use of leftovers from other meals during the week. Leftover rice can be used to make fried rice. A chicken carcass can be picked clean and used to make bone broth and soup, or use the meat to make chicken salad sandwiches. Leftover mashed potatoes can be used to make pierogies, or potato bread or potato pancakes. Lots of things can be stuffed into raviolis or dumped into a stew.

Find a use for your scraps
No matter what you do, you are going to have food waste. Even if you never let anything spoil, you are still going to cut bits off of things and you are going to peel things. If you embrace ugly food, windfall apples for example, some of that food isn’t going to be fit for human consumption and you’ll be cutting off insect damaged and bruised bits- but what will be left is good food that didn’t need to go in the garbage just because it had a funny spot on one side. No matter what, you will have food waste. But putting food waste in your regular garbage sends organic material to the landfill and this accounts for 10% of our greenhouse gas emissions. So, it’s best to avoid throwing away your waste and put it to good use instead.

In my house, we have several places our food waste goes. Much of it gets used to make other, different food. That which can’t be used that way goes to the animals, composting worms and the compost pile. Where it goes depends on what it is and whether its gone bad.

Bones, ends cut off vegetables, leaves too tough to chew and most vegetable peels, including onions and garlic, can go into the stock pot. Simmer these in pure water for several hours with a bay leaf, maybe some rosemary and sage, and I like to add a bit of astragalus root, and the resulting stock can be strained off and frozen for future use for making soups or cooking rice or quinoa for extra flavor and nutrition. Yes, you will still have to throw away the well-cooked mushy vegetables and soft bones you are left with, but at least you know you’ve sucked all the nutrition you possibly can out of them first. Cooking water and canning liquid can also be stored as a soup base or cooking liquid.

If you have animals, there may be some items you can give them from among your kitchen waste. You should research what foods are safe for your animals and remember that your animals should never be given anything slimy, smelly or moldy. There are laws in some areas regarding feeding kitchen waste to animals, particularly those raised for food. Take the time to find out what laws apply in your area.

Composting worms are fun little squigglers who enjoy feeding on bacteria who feed on decaying plant matter. This turns the whole mess into the finest soil amendment you can get- worm castings. There are lots of websites devoted to vermiculture and vermicomposting and, if this sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to check them out. Some sites suggest that red wriggler worms can process huge amounts of compost in a short time. I find that this is not the case. There needs to be a huge population of worms to handle a significant amount of compost in the span of a month and these boxes do attract fruit flies and other pests. But I keep multiple boxes and rotate through them and find that my worms are well worth the work, even if they aren’t as productive as advertised.

A compost pile or bin will take care of most of the rest of your waste. It can also handle paper, cardboard, lawn clippings and garden waste. Many people recommend not including meat, bones or fats in your pile because these break down slowly, can cause unpleasant smells and can attract predators. I have ignored this advice with no problems and have discussed the matter with many other people who do as well. However, we are all farmers and out compost piles are HUGE, containing lots of farm waste as well as kitchen waste. I think the average compost bin probably couldn’t get away with it.
If you have no place to set up a composting bin, you may be able to dispose of your scraps elsewhere. Some municipalities have composting collections. A quick online search or a phone call will let you know if yours is one. Otherwise, consider asking around to friends and neighbors to see if they will take your compost. Avid gardeners may be eager to do so. I would happily take your compost.

Get Loud

Ask your grocery store what they do with their less-than-perfect merchandise. Do they have a rack for nearly expired things? Do they donate their nearly expired packaged food, or send their less than fresh produce to a composting facility? Ask some questions and research solutions to suggest.
Cooking from Scratch
Cooking from scratch, is the main focus of most of this book. It doesn’t just enhance the magic in your meals, it reduces the carbon footprint of your food at every level. I am not going to tell you how to do it in the section because I spend so much time telling you how in other sections. Instead, I’m going to try to make an argument for why you should.

First, we know that a certain amount of food and packaging waste takes place at every level, from production to manufacturing to distribution. We also know that your producers have to ship their products out to either distributors or manufacturers who will then turn their products into more convenient foods. At each level the product is picked through and less than ideal specimens are discarded, it is packaged, then it is shipped again where it is unpacked, picked through, processed and repackaged before it is shipped again. For every processing stop, the footprint goes up and the more ingredients are involved, the higher its environmental footprint becomes. Minimally processed ingredients have had less travel, less handling (and thus fewer options to become contaminated) and have been repackaged fewer times.

Minimally processed foods also tend to come in packaging that’s easier to dispose of in a sustainable manner. Flour comes packaged in paper versus bread which comes in a plastic bag (unless you get it direct from the bakery). Most greens can be purchased un-packaged, and put in your own bag reusable produce bag for the journey home, while salad kits are packaged in plastic bags, often with a little non-recyclable pouch of dressing or bacon bits inside.

There are, of course, degrees of cooking from scratch. You can buy chili, or you can buy ground meat to make chili, or you can buy a chunk of meat to grind up into chili. I do not have a meat grinder at this stage of my life, so I am not going to be doing the latter (though I might shred some leftover meat to make something like chili.) I also do not grind my own grain just now and though I really enjoy doing my own, I also think our local bakery makes some amazing stuff. We have do what we can with the tools and the time we have available to us. I prefer to make my own sauce bases, rather than resorting to the old cream of mushroom soup and canned marinara sauce that were staples of my mother’s kitchen, but I am not a huge fan of canning, so, unless it’s tomato season or I’ve been gifted from someone’s stash, I’m probably going to use store bought canned tomatoes. And if the sliced mushrooms are cheaper than the whole mushrooms, I might just buy the sliced mushrooms. I also don’t make my own crackers or butter or yogurt. I can, I have, I don’t. I find the best quality I can afford in the most sustainable packaging I can find and I store them carefully so they don’t go to waste.

Dining Out and Carry Out
I really enjoy dining out at a good quality restaurant and sometimes I have a hankering for classic fast food as well. Unfortunately, many restaurants provide their diners with pre-packaged convenience food served on styrofoam plates and cups with plastic silverware. There are some restaurants that do better and I am inclined to believe that restaurants that give a thought to sustainability also give more thought to the selection and preparation of their ingredients. It goes hand in hand. Our own attitude toward dining out and carryout makes a difference too, and while giving up restaurants, carryout and fast food entirely is not practical or desirable for most of us, we can take steps to reduce the impact of our occasional, or even frequent, indulgences in someone else’s cooking.

Eating in a restaurant, you may not have a lot of options for greening your experience as the restaurant is in full control. You can opt out of the straw you will likely be offered. I personally find it difficult to drink from a glass with ice in it without a straw, but requesting no ice seems to give the servers a bit of a problem when they’re going around to tables with their water jug full of ice, so I try to bring my own straw, if I can remember. There are quite a few options for reusable straws on the market, I like to use a silicone straw. You’ll need a special brush to clean it, but a pipe cleaner works in a pinch and the kids art supply stash always seems to have some.

Most restaurants serve you on reusable plates, coffee cups and glasses with metal silverware but some are still using disposable serveware. I tend to avoid these when I can, but places that serve a lot of takeout especially still use these often. If it’s a place you really love, I suggest you mention it to the manager. If you’re a regular and you say it enough, they might start to listen.

Another option, especially with takeout, is to bring your own container. This feels weird, but it’s becoming more popular and some places will even give you a discount for doing so. When you are bringing your own container, you often will need to order at the counter, rather than on the phone or at the drive through because packaging the food is often part of the preparation. You can call your favorite takeout place and discuss your options here, or just show up and work it out with them in person.

When going to a fast food restaurant, the most sustainable option is to go in and order it “for here” and package it yourself. You will still end up with a bunch of garbage, but it will be less than the alternative. They will often give you a cup to fill at the fountain and you can tell them you don’t need it and fill the reusable cup or bottle you’ve brought yourself instead. Sometimes they even have big condiment pumps and little paper packets you can use, instead of throwing those non-recyclable pouches in the bottom of the bag. Then when they give you your food on a tray, you can take it off the tray and put it into the insulated lunch box you’ve brought along and be on your way. Sometimes this takes longer than the drive through, but I’m not sure it often does. And as an added bonus, you can wash your hands while you’re in there and your car isn’t idling and wasting gas while you’re waiting in line.

Cleaning Green
Much of the waste and toxins that go into and out of our homes do so in the name of sanitation. Our obsession with disinfecting has been driven largely by product advertising, even though many studies have shown that many of them leave our hands and surfaces no cleaner than plain old soap and water. Keeping your home clean is important to your health and your magick (clutter interferes with energy flow) and it can be done sustainably.

Go paperless, but only if it’s practical.
One simple step to reducing the amount of garbage going out of your house is to replace all of your paper towels, napkins and handkerchiefs with reusable fabric versions. Making these are easy and might only require cutting up and possibly hemming some fabric you got at the fabric store, some worn out t-shirts and old linens. However, if you live in a place that experience frequent water shortages or you have to schlep your laundry down to the laundromat every week, you might find it makes more sense stick with the paper. There can be a lot of laundry involved in a paperless household.

Many paper products now are available in recycled versions at little to know added cost and you may wish to choose these instead. Paper is recyclable and biodegradable and paper towels and napkins can go in your compost if they were used to clean up food messes (just make sure you put something on top so they don’t fly away.

Do not use pre-moistened towelettes. This includes “flushable” wipes which wreak havok on sewer systems and do not break down the way paper does, baby wipes and disinfecting surface wipes. They can’t be recycled or composted. They also tend to come in non-recyclable containers. Obviously, there are situations where these wipes are necessary. I have worked in healthcare for some years where these wipes are as ubiquitous and necessary as disposable gloves. But at home, a wet washcloth or a spray of cleaner followed by a wipe of a paper towel or washcloth are quite sufficient.

I also avoid sponges. They are wonderful for breeding bacteria and spreading it around surfaces and need frequent disinfection to be anything but counterproductive. So I prefer the good old fashioned wash rag which can goes in the laundry at the conclusion of the evening kitchen cleanup.

Make your own cleaning products.
Many people make their own cleaning products because it means there are less mysterious chemicals coming into the house and because it saves money and if you use the same container each time you refill, you are also saving on waste. As a bonus for the Kitchen Witch, you can choose what herbs you use to scent your cleaning products based on the energies you want to bring into your home. Basil for harmony, rosemary for making good memories, sage to keep good energies flowing in, cinnamon for abundance, allspice for luck. (See the Lotions and Potions chapter for more on this.) I use vinegar and water for most everyday cleaning and diluted alcohol (vodka works best) for deep cleaning these can both be scented, though the alcohol leaves the freshest scent at the end. Baking soda makes a wonderful scouring powder.

Kitchen Witchery on a Budget
Improvising
Food and Magical Substitutions
Buying in Season
Buying in Bulk

Spellcrafting in the Kitchen
Spellcrafting in concert with cooking is the very essence of Kitchen Witchery. Magick and cooking are natural partners, as both are natural processes that seem to produce magical results in skilled hands. Food, even without the additional of a magical spark, can enhance a diner’s mood and bring about healing and comfort. Add a little magic and the effect is greatly enhanced. In the following chapters I am going to discuss individual ingredients and their magical and mundane qualities as well as how to prepare them and specific ways they can be used for magick. This chapter, however, is about magical techniques that can be used in the kitchen regardless of the magical qualities of the food involved. These techniques will enhance the existing qualities of food and can also charge food with magical energies it does not possess. I want you to keep in mind though, that not it is not necessary to use every technique mentioned here every time you create a magical meal. This is a collection of techniques for you to learn about, experiment with and use where appropriate and when it makes sense for you.
Establishing Sacred Space
Many witches prefer to create sacred space, call the quarters, evoke their Gods and ancestors, establish a circle and/or perform some other sanctifying and empowering ritual as a prelude to all magical work. We have already talked about maintaining sacred space in the kitchen in the chapter entitled Sanctifying Cookery, but for many witches, something extra is required for actual spellwork. If this is you, then you should not hesitate to do what feels natural to you in the kitchen.
Declaring Your Intention
The difference between a good meal and a magical meal is intention. If you are casting a spell, you must make your intention clear at the start. You may do this by spending a few moment visualizing the goal or you might speak your intention out loud in a positive statement. You can also write it down on a card where you can see it throughout the meal preparations, or even across the top of your recipe. Giving the recipe a name that clearly states its magical purpose can only make it more magical, right?

Maintaining Your Focus

Magic of Motion

Symbols and Sigils

Tools for the Kitchen Witch
Basic Kitchen Skills
Finding the Magick in Food
Every food is unique in its energetic qualities, its nutritional content and its cultural significance and this gives each food magical potential. It is tempting to look at a table of correspondences when making magical food decisions, but there is also something magical in combining, preparing and presenting your ingredients in a delightful way. With the knowledge of simple techniques and some practice, we can prepare magical meals and treats in an intuitive way.
Without ever looking at a correspondence table, we know that chicken soup is comforting and healing, and so do home cooks and healers the world over, for centuries past. We also know that eating fresh food in season connects us to the land, whatever it may be and that cake is for joy and celebration and fruit pies are for abundance. We just know this because we grew up with people who knew this and prepared these dishes accordingly.
Tables of Correspondence do have their place and you will find a chapter on food correspondences with accompanying tables after this section. I have purposely placed them there because I want you to learn about the physical nature of the foods and cooking techniques as well as a bit of their historical use first as I feel this is an important foundation to build off of before we get into the more intricate details of elemental and planetary correspondences. After all, if you don’t know how to make a dish of beans delicious, it really doesn’t matter what its elemental energies are.
It’s also important as we cook our foods, whatever its energies, that we keep in mind what our purpose for the food is. I have discussed this in the chapters Sanctifying Cookery and Spellcrafting in the Kitchen, so I won’t go into it too much here, but do keep in mind that whatever energies something contains, they are enhanced when they are activated through rituals designed to activate our intention.
As we explore each food, its history and its qualities, I have provided some recipes that I have selected specifically to introduce you to cooking techniques that I believe will serve you well on your journey. So I encourage you to try them, especially if you are not familiar with them. I give a great deal of detail, just in case you need it. Also, the recipes are designed to be highly adaptable and include ideas for varying the ingredients to suit your taste or magical needs.
Laying a Magickal Table
Magical Food- Legumes

Beans
(This section discusses dried, mature beans. Green beans and peas have their own entries in the Fruits and Vegetables section.)
Beans are nutritious, versatile and inexpensive and deserve a place at your magical table, despite their flatulent reputation. While it’s true that some people simply cannot tolerate beans and therefore must avoid them for life, most people who experience stomach discomfort and gas after eating beans will find that their bodies will gradually adjust to beans after consuming them regularly for some time, assuming the beans are properly prepared. I have found that many people do not prepare them properly. My own mother taught me to prepare them wrong and she was going with the wisdom of the day and can’t be blamed.
The problem with beans is that they can contain chemicals that interfere with digestion as part of a bean’s natural makeup. When you consider a bean is a seed and it would rather be planted than eaten, this natural defense mechanism makes perfect sense. Most seeds have something like this going on to ensure the continuation of the species. But if you soak your beans, some of the defenses weaken as it feels like it is being planted. Heating beans to the right temperature and holding it for awhile will destroy many of the remaining problem chemicals or release them into the water, and then you are free to simmer your beans gently until they are tender and infused with flavor. This all can take quite a bit of time, but most of that time is spent ignoring the beans, so it’s not that big a deal.
While beans are a staple food for vegetarians, they should not be ignored by meat-eaters. (They pair wonderfully with pork, after all.) They are loaded with protein and fiber and most of us meat eaters don’t get enough fiber. Brightly colored beans, like black beans and kidney beans also provide valuable antioxidants. They also contain folate, magnesium, potassium and iron while being free of saturated fat and cholesterol- until we start tossing fat back and butter in there. Increased consumption of beans is associated with decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Many bean dishes taste even better the next day, so you can make a big pot of beans, refrigerate or freeze a bunch and enjoy your beans for snacking. Some bean dishes I prefer cold, which makes them great to prepare in bulk when you know a heat wave is on the way. I personally love to use cold leftover beans on a tortilla as a base for a wrap sandwich and my husband enjoys a jar of cold baked beans in his lunch box.
Beans are not just a substitute for meat. Aquafaba, a byproduct of bean preparation creates a great egg-free meringue substitute for those who cannot or do not wish to consume eggs, and several beans provide us with gluten-free flours that can be mixed with other flours to create gluten-free or reduced-gluten baked goods. In Asia, beans are used as a base for sweet treats as well as for savory dishes. For those watching your saturated fat intake, pureed beans can replace up to 50% of the fat in a brownie recipe
Basic Bean Cooking Methods-
Rinse your beans thoroughly and check for and remove foreign material.
Beans should be soaked for several hours for best digestibility. Use twice as much water as beans for small beans like lentils, and three times as much for larger beans like kidney beans. You can soak your beans overnight or all day while you’re at work for 8-12 hours, or you can boil your beans for 3 minutes or so and then allow them to soak in the same water for 3-5 hours.
Drain your soak water and rinse the beans again.
Put your beans in your cooking pot and cover them with fresh, cold water and bring them to a boil. Keep them boiling for five minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer to continue cooking. You can transfer them into a slow cooker at this point if you’re using a slow cooker recipe. The cooking time varies by the bean from 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you have a pressure cooker, you can use it to cook your beans in about 25 minutes.
In most cases, additional ingredients should be added near the end of cooking time. Or do what I do- when your beans are nearly done drain them and replace the water with a stock, maybe in a pan I just sweated some aromatics in, then I bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and then start adding the good stuff.
Some bean-cooking tips:
Salt added to the cooking liquid can result in tough skins. Add salt after the skins have tenderized. (Baking soda softens skins, but also neutralizes thiamine and may affect the taste.)
Vegetables and aromatics like garlic and onions should be added in the last half hour so they can retain their own flavors and textures.
Most herbs suffer serious flavor loss when added too soon and should be added quite close to the end. Exceptions are thyme and bay leaf, but even these shouldn’t be simmered more than 30 minutes or so.
Olive oil or other plant based oil should be added right at the end so that it retains its freshest possible flavor.
Increasing the acid in the cooking liquid can result in longer cooking times, so wait until the beans look about done before adding acidic ingredients like tomato sauce, wine or lemon juice.
If you don’t have time to plan ahead for your bean recipes, canned beans can be used just fine. You’ll want to drain them of their liquid and give them a good rinse in a colander before using.
These herbs are said to reduce gas associated with eating beans: ajwain, epazote, ginger, cumin, fennel, asafetida.
Dawn’s Basic Beans
This basic recipe can be used with many different types of beans and combinations of herbs. You can experiment to suit your preferences and vary the energies presented in the dish by varying the seasonings.
Ingredients
Beans, soaked, boiled and simmered until just soft.
Aromatics (onions, garlic)
Water or Stock
Herbs and Spices
Fat or oil
Tools
A heavy, broad bottomed pan, about 2 inches deep
Steps
1. Warm the pan over low heat and add a bit of stock to the bottom of the pan to cover.
2. Add your aromatics and cook on very low heat to allow their flavors to infuse the stock.
3. Add your beans. You may be draining them first or using the cooking water.
4. Add more stock to just cover the beans, add your simmering herbs and spices and mix in.
5. Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally. As the beans absorb the stock, you may need to add more.
6. Add your fat and mix in well. Add any delicate herbs at this time.
7. Salt and pepper or other preferred seasonings to taste.
8. Serve as a side dish or main dish, with crusty bread or mash to use as a spread on tortilla or a dip for fresh vegetables or corn chips.
Sample Bean Simmers
White Beans with Sage and Garlic
Use one pound of white beans (navy or great Northern will work), use water or light broth, like chicken broth or vegetable broth and simmer with 3 cloves garlic minced, add 21 sage leaves and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add a good dousing of olive oil at the end. I like to serve this with kale and crusty bread. Or blend it smooth and use it as a vegetable dip. The combination of garlic and sage is a good one for discouraging unwanted romantic/ sexual attention and harassment and is also just generally protective. The overall combination of beans, olive oil, garlic and sage is very healthful for the circulatory system.
Pinto Beans
Use one pound of pinto beans with a ham or other pork base, simmer onions. Add cumin and some cayenne pepper to taste and a bit of lard. You can serve these beans intact over rice or mash them to use in bean burritos or blend them smooth and melt cheese over them to make a tasty dip for vegetables or corn chips. The combination of onion and cumin will protect your love relationship and just a touch of cayenne spice up your love life, increase confidence in the relationship and prevent feelings of jealousy and inadequacy.
Black Beans
Use black beans with a vegetable broth or water, simmer bell peppers and/or poblanos and onions, simmer with some cumin. Add olive oil, fresh tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and avocado right at the end and flavor with a squeeze of lime. Serve over rice or mix into quinoa. Or, skip the pepper and onion simmer, mix in the raw ingredients and some cold, cooked quinoa to make a tasty salad. The cumin and the cilantro combine to encourage a peaceful, loving relationship and inspire loyalty while the avocado and tomatoes enhance affection.
Types of beans and cooking variations

Adzuki beans or chìdòu or red cowpeas (Vigna angularis) are little (usually) red flavor bombs from Northeast Asia where they are among the most important legumes, second to the soybean. The adzuki bean is normally prepared as a sweet dish, often in the form of red bean paste used as a filling for pastries or sweet rice balls. They are also tasty lightly seasoned and mixed with rice as a side dish. The flavor is sweeter and less “beany” than other beans. You can also use adzuki beans to bring red color magick into your kitchen.
Adzuki beans are traditionally served at festive occasions, such as Chinese New Year when they might fill dumplings and the Autumn Festival when they are often found in moon cakes. In Korea they are served in a red porridge topped with little rice balls called dongji-patjuk. The red color is believed to ward off evil spirits while the egg-shaped rice balls symbolize new life.
Azukiarai translates as “adzuki bean washing” is a phenomenon that has been experienced in Japan, usually near water. The sound of Adzuki beans being processed is heard and sometimes singing (“Shall I wash my beans, or shall I catch a person to eat?”). It is believed that when you hear this sound, if you approach, you will be drowned, though it is good luck to spot the bean washer from a distance.
Black beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are small, shiny black beans that tend to stay pretty solid when they cook and turn their cooking water purple. This can be used as a base for black soup and is a traditional cure for gout. Because the beans hold their shape so well, they are great in soups, salads and rice dishes where you don’t want your ingredients to mush together, but they can also be mashed to form the basis of a black bean burger, or blended into a dip. Black beans are common in the cuisine of Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Black beans combined with white beans can be used for divination. Ask your question and reach into a bag containing both black and white beans of equal number. If you get a black bean, your answer is no. A white bean means yes. You can also add a black bean and a white bean to your bag of bones and use them in a similar way.
During the dark half of the year and other times when spirits walk, prevent ghosts from entering your home by spitting black beans out your door.
RECIPES
Black and White Bean Salad
Three Sisters Salad
Black Bean Burger
Black Bean Soup
Chickpeas

RECIPES
Hummus
Channa Masala
Crisp Roasted Chickpeas

Fava Beans - Mojo bean, St. Joseph’s bean.
On Midsummer eve, take 3 fava beans, peel one completely, half peel another and leave a third intact. Close your eyes and select a bean to predict your fortune for the rest of the year. The fully peeled bean indicates privation, the half peeled bean indicates comfort, and the intact bean indicates wealth.
Kidney Beans
RECIPES
Red Bean Chili

Lentils
Lima Beans
Mung Beans
Soybeans
White Beans (Navy and Great Northern)

Moi moi
Herbed White Beans and Kale
Refried Beans
Spicy Black Beans
Fava Beans
Hummus
Chili
Hoppin’ John
Beans & Greens
Beans and Rice
Aquafaba
Black bean brownies
Chickpea flatbread
Bean fudge

Horseradish

Magical Food- Whole Grains
Magical Food- Bread and Pastry
Bread is the

Corn Bread
Sourdough Bread
“Golden” Bread
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Italian Style Bread (And Pizza Dough)
Fruit Bread
Tortillas

Leftover Bread
Croutons
Bread Pudding
Strata
French Toast

Other Baked Goods and Pastry

All purpose German pastry
Puff pastry
Cookies
Cakes
Pies and tarts
Fried bread
Doughnuts, fry bread and chinchin

Magical Food- Eggs and Dairy
The egg is most commonly associated with the festivities surrounding the Vernal Equinox, Ostara or Eostre to many Pagans and Heathens, Easter to Christians and as such, you’ll find a lot more information about them in the Springtime seasonal section of this book. Here on the farm, mid-March is, indeed, the time of year when we start receiving an abundance of eggs from our hens. We don’t provide them with artificial light, so they take a natural laying break in the winter. Sometime in February we start getting a few eggs again and by March I’m flipping through my kitchen journal trying to remember what I did with all those eggs last year. Boiling them and dying them seems as good a use as any! Of course, by Midsummer I have piles of eggs and I’ve had to learn quite a bit about eggs in order to make sure none of my bounty goes to waste!

These wonderful little nuggets of nutrition have 7 grams of protein (9 in a duck egg), lots of essential fatty acids and B complex vitamins, E, riboflavin, selenium, lutein, folic acid, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and iron in respectable amounts for a mere 75 calories (130 in a duck egg) and 2 grams of saturated fat.

Eggs used to be somewhat demonized due to their high cholesterol levels (210 milligrams in a chicken egg, 619 in a duck egg!). I remember my mother telling me when I was a teenager that if I ate more than one egg a day that I would get heart disease, but now eggs are my family’s main source of protein. Nutrition experts no longer think the cholesterol in eggs is that big a deal for healthy, physically active people, unless you are allergic to eggs or sensitive to dietary cholesterol. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these concerns.

If you are vegan, you might not get as much out of this chapter as an egg-eater, but it’s still worth exploring the versatility of eggs. Many cooking techniques rely on eggs and for you vegans, it pays to know where substitutions need to be made and how to make them. I am not an expert on vegan living, so I’m hardly going to be able to give you all the information you will ever need about egg substitutions, but I do think I’ve got a few things to share.

Eggs are considered sacred in many traditions, and it’s really no wonder. They contain everything needed to create and sustain life in a beautiful little package that can be turned into breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and art!

Egg Symbolism

Basic Egg Dishes
Since the energy of eggs is basically the energy of potential, egg dishes can be charged for manifestation of just about anything. Adding additional ingredients that support your intention will enhance your work. If you find a double yolked egg, cook it up and share it with your life mate to help strengthen your bond.

The boiled or steamed egg
Deviled eggs
Pickled Eggs
Poached eggs
Scrambled eggs and sloppy omelettes
Sunny Side Up
Over easy to over hard
The omelette
The frittata
The quiche
Egg custard and pudding
Meringue - substitute aquafaba
Lemon meringue pie
Souffles
Egg based sauces

Egg Food Safety
Magical Uses for Eggs

The egg, a living and yet non-living thing, containing all of the elements of creation, is the most magical of objects. At its core, the egg contains potential.

Notes for vegans and those otherwise opposed to using eggs for magick: a potato has a few similar uses in magick to an egg and I suggest you visit the potato entry for more information. Cleansing can also be achieved without an egg by relying upon cleansing baths, floor washes and fumigation instead. Powdered cascarilla plant is not considered a suitable alternative to cascarilla eggshell powder. The two substances are quite different.

Egg Cleansing and Healing
Many cultures have a tradition of the passing of a condition from one living thing into another to cure diseases and release individuals from bewitchment. Various animals have been used for this purpose and sacrificed after, its internal organs examined to divine the nature of the affliction and the success of the cure. Using living animals for this purpose is fraught with complications, even in societies whose members aren’t horrified at the thought. The egg, however, is a living thing, yet not an animal. It does not suffer pain or fear from ill treatment, it is easy to transport and handle and, after it can be cracked and its contents examined for divinatory purposes. In short, it can serve as a less messy and distressing sacrificial victim with far fewer ethical concerns. In modern practice, best attested to in African and diaspora traditions, Latin America and indeed folk traditions the world over, the egg can be used to draw out disease, negative energy and hexes.

Using a technique sometimes called egg rolling, a fresh, intact, hen’s egg is prepared using methods specific to the practitioner’s tradition. It may be washed in holy water, anointed with fragrance or prayed over and variously blessed, cleansed and/or charged. The client may also be prepared using a ritual bath, meditations, prayers or other methods according to tradition and the space in which the healing takes place may also be prepared using traditional methods.

Once preparations are complete, the egg is rolled or passed over the entire body, about six inches away from the surface of the skin, starting at the head and moving down toward the feet. Some touch the skin with the egg, though some caution that the skin must never be touched. As this is done, any negative energy, illness, etc., should be visualized leaving the body and flowing into the egg. Many people will say specific words as they do this (Psalm 23 is popular). If a specific body part is affected, the egg may be rubbed just on that body part.

Other methods of using eggs to absorb diseases, curses and negative energy involve placing the egg near the affected person while they are sleeping. The egg may or may not be passed over the body first and then placed under or near the bed overnight or for a period of several days. The egg may first be cracked into a jar of water so that any changes may be observed during the process, or it may be used whole- traditions vary. The egg can be checked and switched out periodically, every morning or every three days or more, depending on the tradition and the process repeated until the egg looks bright and firm, indicating that there is no more negative energy left for it to absorb.

After the cleansing is complete, the egg is often cracked into a glass or dish of water and observed to divine information about the patient’s condition and the efficacy of the cure. (See Oomancy below.) If there is any abnormality in the egg, the healing can be repeated until the egg looks normal afterward.

It is important to dispose of the egg far away from the original patient. It may be buried or smashed at a crossroads or at the base of a tree. Often a prayer is said to affirm that the negative energy is being sent away and that the energy should be transformed and the patient healed.
Oomancy
Oomancy or ovamancy is divination using an egg.
Begin by washing the egg and using whatever ritual means your tradition recommends to cleanse and charge it to your purpose. Pass the several times over the body of the person to be read to align it to their energy. Many people practice oomancy in conjunction with the egg cleansing ritual, so the egg is becomes aligned to the person’s energy during that process and it need not be repeated.

Crack the egg into a glass of water. The whole egg should sink to the bottom which may cause changes to the clarity of the water. Patterns and shapes will form in the white and the color and shape of the yolk should be examined. If you let the egg sit for awhile, it will form some really interesting patterns. Some do the reading after 12 or 24 hours to allow these patterns to form, some do it right away.

This sort of divination is intuitive, so it’s difficult to give clear instructions about what means what. Generally: Blood or meat spots on the egg show that it has absorbed negative energy. A cleansing should be repeated until the yolk shows clean. A sulfurus smell indicates the presence of a spirit causing problems but bubbles forming at the ends of tendrils of white indicate helpful spirits or people coming to your aid. The image of an eye indicates that the influence of the evil eye is upon you; this may be intentional or accidental, but is usually caused by jealousy or spite. Sometimes faces can be seen, giving you a clue as to who is behind the mess. A double yolked egg may hat the spell or negative energy affecting you is targeting your marriage or partnership. If I saw this, I would bring my husband in for a cleansing too. That all being said, different traditions and different individuals read eggs differently, so you may find conflicting information if you research this further. Don’t let it frustrate you, remember, your egg is talking to you, not me, so use your own intuition when reading it.

House Cleansing
Space can also be cleansed using eggs and the eggs can be used for divination afterward to get an idea of the energy in the space as well. I like to place an egg in a glass of water in the four corners of a room for 24 hours and then take a look at the eggs and see what kind of energy we have going on. Repeat as necessary.

Curses using Eggs

Eggs are effective tools for cursing as well and have a long history of being used this way. After all, not just friendly birds come out of eggs. And there are few things more unpleasant than the smell of an egg that’s gone off. Simply smashing a rotten egg against someone’s door isn’t just vandalism, if done with intention, it is a spell that will get them to move away quickly.

Two break up a relationship between two people; poke a hole in either end of an egg and stuff some powdered cayenne pepper into each hole. Bury the egg in an ant’s nest (preferably fire ants, will need to experiment with local ant species). As the egg is consumed, the relationship will fall apart.

To keep someone away from a place, write their name on the shell of an egg and throw the egg onto the roof of the building so that it breaks and stays up there until nature wears it away. If someone resides in a building and you want them to move out of it, the prepared egg should be thrown over the building, from East to West, so that it falls on the ground at the other side. To get someone to move far away, you can throw the egg in a flowing river.

Remember that you can any of these spells for specific people, categories of people (like people who gossip, or representatives of the law for example), or businesses or organizations.

Eggshells

The purpose of an eggshell is to protect the budding life within and this symbolism carries over into the magical uses of an eggshell. Eggshell, both whole and powdered, can be used for powerful protection magick. You can save your eggshells when you eat your eggs, or, if you raise chickens like I do, you can even collect eggshells after they’ve hatched and powder these.

Whole, emptied eggshells can be used to contain an image of a person, object or location you wish to protect. You can use a blown out egg or a shell that has had just it’s top carefully removed. Then simply place an image or a taglock into the shell and seal up the opening with a bit of wax if you like. You may also paint protective symbols on the outside of the eggshell if it suits you.

Cascarilla (not to be confused the with Caribbean native plant Croton eluteria with carries the same common name and is used also in Caribbean folk tradition and medicine) is the name given to dried, powdered eggshells in Latin American and African diaspora folk magic traditions and you will find it under that name in many markets. Some tradition specifies that the egg the powder derives from the white egg of a black hen. Cascarilla powder is used generally for protection and banishing negative energy. The powder is applied to the body to prevent negative energy from adhering to you and to shield you from psychic attack. It can also be added to ritual baths for the same purpose, to wash away negativity and to break hexes. Cascarilla can also be scattered around an area or added to the wash water to protect your home from negative energy. A line of cascarilla powder is a line that spirits cannot cross. Cascarilla is composed of calcium carbonate which is basically chalk, so this powder, moistened and pressed tightly into a mold, will give you a piece of chalk that you can used to apply the powder more precisely and to draw sigils and other symbols if you wish.

You can also put a pinch of cascarilla powder or a piece of eggshell into a protection sachet.

Calcium supplement for plants and animals. Eggshells are composed almost entirely of calcium carbonate, with trace amounts of calcium phosphate and magnesium carbonate held together with a protein matrix. They are a rich source of bioavailable calcium for your garden, your chickens or yourself. Eggshells can be reduced to a very fine powder in the blender and mixed with garden soil, to increase calcium levels and PH- use it as you would lime. Or you can add the finely powdered eggshells to food to increase calcium intake.

The old timers say that crushed eggshells will deter garden pests. Just sprinkle them on the ground around your plants and dust the leaves with them and slugs and other other soft bodied pests will be compelled to keep away as the eggshells irritate their skin.

Preparing Eggshells for Use

I begin preparing my eggshells for magical use before I ever break the egg. First, I scrub the shell well, removing any debris and the “bloom” which protects the egg from invasion by microorganisms but also interferes with painting the egg. I have a special brush that I use and I use dish soap and water. Store bought eggs don’t generally need much cleaning as backyard eggs, but a quick scrub and dry before cracking never hurt anybody.

If I am going to use the whole shell, I either crack off just the top, or I blow out the egg. The remove just the top, I give the egg a quick blow with a sharp knife on the side near the top and then lift the top off with my fingers and pour out the contents.

To blow out the egg, I poke a hole in both points of the eggs using a sharp object and then I send the object deep into the egg and wiggle it around to break the yolk. (I use my meat thermometer for this, because it’s always there next to the stove, but my mom taught me using a metal shish kabob skewer. You use what you got.) Then, I blow into the larger end, using my fingers to help make a seal, until all of the egg’s contents has been blown out of the shell and into a bowl.

Next, I rinse the egg well and give it a few sharp shakes to get the rest of the goop off and put it on my windowsill to dry in the sun. It is ready to use in a few days.

If I am going to use the powdered shell, rather than the whole egg, I am not as careful about how I break it, but the powdered shell takes considerably more work afterward. If I’m going to use the shell to make cascarilla, I remove the inner membrane of the eggshell first. I find this is easier to do if I soak it in water for awhile. I use a little toothbrush to get things going and peel the membrane away from the eggshell. Then, I spread the eggshells on a cookie sheet and put them in a low oven for about 10 minutes until they are completely dry. This also makes the eggshells very brittle and easier to crush, but they are also quite sharp so you must take care when using your bare hands that the sharp edges do not cut you.

If I am powdering the eggshells for use in the garden, I don’t worry as much about the membrane or about them being sterile. I do put them in the oven for a bit to dry them out and make them brittle and easier to crush, but I don’t bother soaking them and removing the membrane first- which can be fiddly and time consuming and I don’t mind skipping if I can get away with it! You will notice that eggs prepared this way may have some browned or burned membrane stuck to them, but they work just fine in the garden.

You can powder the shells using a mortar and pestle or a dedicated blender or coffee grinder. If you use a machine, it does tend to kick up a lot of egg dust, though it makes the job go considerably faster. I will use a machine for the garden, but I like to visualize protective light and say a little chant while I’m grinding up the cascarilla, so I use the mortar and pestle for that. For either method, though, it pays to stop periodically and sift the powder through a fine sieve into a separate container and return the larger pieces back to the grinding instrument. Trying to grind everything into a powder at once will take forever if you don’t sift out what’s done periodically. You want a very fine powder for making chalk or applying to the body, but it can be a bit more chunky if you’re using around the house or garden.

Remember, when you are preparing your eggshells for ritual work to keep your mind and energy focused on the task and the ultimate purpose for the finished product. I find it helps to light a candle, to remind me that I’m doing Work, not just work. And it’s helpful to say a prayer or chant to put your intention for the Work out there. Ritualize your Work and you will find the finished product to be most potent.

Sourcing Your Eggs

Eggs used for magical purposes should be as fresh as possible and many traditions specify that they be from a black hen, even more potent, a frizzled hen. If you’ve got a roadside stand near you with happy black frizzled hens scratching around it, you’re golden, but this isn’t usually the case. If you can’t get black hens eggs, get the freshest eggs you can find. Visit your local farmer’s market and you’re sure to find some. If even this isn’t possible for you, get the freshest, pastured eggs you can from the grocery store. While black hens eggs are considered by most to be the best, we must often make due with what we have. I use duck eggs with good results for cleansing and spent many years happily believing any fresh egg would do before I learned about the black hens. The importance of the origin of the egg, its freshness, the color of the egg itself and the hen it came from will vary by tradition. For me, freshness is paramount and the color of the hen, and even her species does not matter to me personally, but it matters very much to some. If someone came to me for a cleansing or for an egg to do their own cleansing and wanted a black hen’s egg, I would skip the duck house and go straight to my black hen’s nest box. If you believe it is important, it is important. If your tradition deems it important, it is important.
Keeping Hens
While I realize it’s not practical for everyone, I am starting to believe that every Kitchen Witch should have a hen, preferably two so they have company. Eggs are useful for so many magical applications, and are such a nutrient dense food source, that having a ready supply of fresh eggs just makes sense. Hens themselves also have magical significance. In Hoodoo tradition, black hens in particular are powerfully protective creatures and their eggs and feathers are preferred for spellwork and some believe frizzled hens are particularly good for uncrossing. Chicken hens scratch around on the ground endlessly, scratching away any tricks laid down against the people in the house. You can also use their feathers and (if you choose to butcher them) feet for magical purposes. And while hens get along just fine without male companionship, there is also the tradition of the cock’s crow frightening away evil spirits, or maybe Shakespeare made that up.
There are many breeds of hens that are all black, or that have black individuals. I keep Turken and Silkies, which both come in many colors, including black, and Ayam Cemani, which are so black, they look like a chicken-shaped hole in the universe. The frizzled gene can be bred into any breed of chicken, but is most noted in the frizzled Cochin, of which there are both bantam (pocket sized) and standard breeds, both of which come in black.
Ducks, geese and quail are also options if you aren’t particular about your eggs coming from chickens. Duck and geese eggshells are stronger than chicken eggshells and this makes them sturdy containers and particularly handy for art projects, but geese and ducks are bigger, bolder and louder than chickens and need more space. Ducks can lay as many eggs as chickens, but geese will only give you a few dozen in the spring. Coturnix quail are much smaller and quieter and can be kept in a smaller space where even bantam chickens wouldn’t be practical. They will lay lots of tiny, but tasty eggs.

Magical Food- Meats
Magical Food- Sweets
Magical Food- Nuts and Seeds
Magical Food- Oils and Fats
Magical Food - Sauce
Magical Food - Soups and Stews
Magical Food- Herbs, Spices and Seasoning
Kitchen Witchery through the Seasons
Food Traditions
Magical Food - Fruit
Apple
Blueberries
Grapes
Passion fruit
Peach
Pear
Persimmon
Pomegranate
Raspberries
Strawberry
Magical Food - Vegetables
Magical Food -Root Vegetables
Coffee Tea and Other Infused Beverages
Fermentation
Correspondences in the Kitchen
Correspondence tables- Planetary and Elemental
Garden
Magic in Everyday Items
Magical Housekeeping
A Kitchen Witch’s home is their temple, their kitchen the sanctuary, the counter and stove, working altars. The act of cleaning and tending the home is a sacred act of devotion to our craft and to the home that shelters us. Clutter in any space blocks the free flow of energy and this can affect the mood of the people who have to share that space. I know I tend to feel more tense in a cluttered and crowded space and more relaxed in a tidy space, but this isn’t a book about housekeeping. The subject here is food! Well, food needs to be prepared in a sanitary environment and it helps the cook immensely if that environment is also well-organized. And what is the point of making all the marvelous food if you’re house is in no state for company to share it with? Let’s face it, you can’t separate food preparation from cleaning, so we’re going to take a quick look at some food sanitation concepts and see if we can’t mix a little magick into them.

Every magical operation begins with the preparation of the space and the tools of the craft. Preparing magical foodstuffs and household items is a magical operation and thus should be approached with the same solemnity. The space should be prepared for the specific task, all unnecessary items tucked away, all tools gathered, our recipe at hand and maybe even something special to set the mood, such as a burning candle or a spritz of fragrance. Then, ground, center, take a deep breath and focus. Begin creating.

Decluttering in the Kitchen

There is nothing more frustrating than setting your mind to a task and finding that you can’t even begin it until you’ve done twenty other tasks. For example, when you head into the kitchen to make dinner only to find that the counter and stove are covered with clutter and, every dish you own is stinking in the sink, you don’t have a single clean dish cloth and there’s something weird all over the floor. And exactly where did you leave that cookbook? It’s enough to make a girl order pizza and turn in early. Or does that only happen to me?

The solution to this problem is not letting it happen in the first place, which I understand is easier said than done, but remember, you aren’t doing boring housework, you are tending your temple. Come up with a system (there’s an interesting one at Flylady.net) and stick to it. I personally make myself two lists, one for morning and one for night. Each morning I wake up and I go straight to the morning list. It looks like this-
Wash, dress, oil pull, brush teeth and hair.
Switch laundry.
Turn on coffee maker, start breakfast
Yoga
Drink water, take supplements
Clean a bathroom (I have two, I alternate. Cleaning the bathroom looks like this- take everything off the counter, spray everything, wipe everything, swish the scrubby thing around in the toilet, put everything back on the counter, pick up anything on the floor, dump the trash can into the kitchen garbage, put it back.) Wash hands.
Wake up family, Eat breakfast
Wash all breakfast dishes, wipe the table and counter.
Help kiddo with morning chores.
Take kiddo to school.

Then, immediately after dinner, I do this-
Put away leftovers
Pack lunches for tomorrow.
Fill water bottles and coffee maker for tomorrow, make iced tea, set up breakfast, thaw or soak dinner for tomorrow. (Actually, I usually end up doing most of this while cooking dinner.)
Wash and put away dinner dishes.
Wipe all tables and counters.
Sweep and spot mop the floor.
Finish laundry.
Lay out clothes for tomorrow.
Help kiddo get ready for bed. Including packing backpack and laying out clothes.
Wash, brush teeth, put on PJs.

I won’t pretend that this routine keeps my house spotless, or that I really do it every day, but it does keep the important bits reasonably functional and if I miss a day, the next day just takes a little longer and I’m back on track again. My kitchen is just a few minutes of prep away from any cooking task I might wish to do in it, and if someone stops by to visit, I’m not embarrassed. An extra half hour in a different room (and the car/garage and yard) each day keeps my house pretty organized, and that's about all the average suburban/urban witch needs for a clean, well organized house.

Daily Declutter

In addition to the daily maintenance routine, I take a half hour to declutter and dust a designated room/area each day. Depending on what’s going on that day, it might be right after I take kiddo to school or just before I start making dinner. I begin with, what I call the 10 Minute Tidy. First, we make sure we have a garbage can, a laundry basket and a box for stuff that goes elsewhere handy. Set the timer for 10 minutes and grab everything you see out of place. Then I do a quick dust and spot mop, some organizing, maybe some laundry. So the daily declutter looks a bit like this.

Monday- Kitchen
10 Minute Tidy. 10 Minutes cleaning out fridge. 10 minutes giving the room a proper and thorough mop. (It gets wiped down and dusted daily.)
Tuesday- Dining/Family Room
10 minute tidy. 10 minute dust and wipe. Vacuum.
Wednesday- TV Room
10 minute tidy. 10 minute dust and wipe. Vacuum.
Thursday- Bathrooms
Proper wipe down and scrub of the tub/shower, wash floors, launder rug and hand towels.
Friday- Bedrooms
Strip beds, launder sheets and pillow cases. 10 minute tidy each room. Vacuum, including halls in between (OK. This takes quite a bit longer than 30 minutes.)
Saturday- Hall and Entry
10 Minute tidy front hall, including hall closet. Take out and shake mats and rugs. Dust off front door, inside and out. Clean window. Sweep and mop floors, including stairs.
Sunday- Car
10 minute tidy car. Wipe down all hard surfaces, clean windows with vinegar water. Vacuum if needed.

Once a week, I make my husband vacuum the whole house, and he takes out the garbage that I dutifully collect for him.
Pet areas are cleaned when the room they are in are cleaned.
It works out nice.

Now, the truth is, I spend another hour taking care of animals and doing yard work on any given day. But I don’t just run a household, I run a suburban homestead. What with people tracking mud and, let’s face it, poop in and out of my house all day and the not infrequent poultry incursion on the catfood and the occasional presence of brooding chicks in the dining room and the fact that the kitchen often serves as a butcher shop, a cannery, a tannery and a veterinary first aid station, there is hours more work keeping things sanitary than is appropriate for the scope of a book such as this. I am assuming you are a normal witch who lives in a town, has a few people and maybe a couple pets living with you and gets most of your food from some market or other. If you’re not, stay tuned, I do believe there is a book about homesteading in my future.

Getting Organized
Having a daily routine goes a long way toward having your space ready for whatever you want to do at any given time, but if you don’t have some organization, you’ve got nothing. How do you put things away if they don’t have a home? Everything you own should have a place it belongs and it needs to It can belong on the counter, in the cupboard, hanging on the wall, or in the basement, as long as it has a home and (this is important) everyone who uses it knows where that home is. Yes the spouse and kids will get irritated with you when, everytime you find the colander in the storage container cupboard you call a family meeting to demonstrate where the colander actually belongs, but eventually whoever is mishoming your colandar will quit doing that and you won’t be stuck with a pot of pasta going mushy while you search high and low for your colander anymore. (Remember, your task is to instruct, not to lay blame or punish.) If you have a lot of folks using the same things, decide together where those things should go and consider labeling the drawers and cabinets with their contents. If you’re worried about appearances, labels can go on the inside or you could do something fabulous with chalkboard paint.

Your organization system should be simple- so simple as to be intuitive. Group like things together, that is, things that are used for a similar purpose, or at the same time, and then put them in the same place. All your silverware goes in one drawer and all the tools you use while standing at the stove preparing a meal (your spatula, whisk, meat thermometer, wooden spoons, etc.) go in another, preferably next to the stove. Anything you drink out of can all go in the same cabinet, preferably near the fridge, sink, and/or coffee maker. I know it’s not always that simple. Sometimes one or two items don’t fit in the designated space for items of that type. Sometimes a new thing comes into the house and you can’t figure out where to put it. (I currently have a homeless electric pressure cooker that does not fit on the closet shelf that houses my small appliances. It variously lives on the counter or on an unused chair in the dining room, but I use it far too often to want to lug it up and down the basement stairs each time.) These items are the tools of your craft. They deserve to be treated well and to have their own designated place.

If you find you quite a lot of the some things or things you don’t use often, donate some stuff. Make more space! If you’re afraid you’re going to need it the minute it’s gone, put a sticker or a piece of masking tape on it and write the date on it with a permanent marker. If you come across that thing two years from now and still haven’t used it, you’ve got no excuse for not passing it on to someone who will.

For our purposes, one of the most important considerations is the organization of food ingredients. My system is simple. I have a bunch of jars of various sizes, some canning jars, some jars that once contained food I purchased at the grocery store. These are cleaned and delabeled and re-labeled with chalkboard tape. Every item is labeled with its name and the date it went into the jar. The jars can go in the cupboard, the fridge or basement cool storage in the jars. Anything that goes in the freezer goes in plastic deli-style containers that I buy in bulk. I write names and dates right in permanent marker right on these containers, as they will come off with a good scrub, easier than the chalk marker on the chalkboard tape.

I like the look of my jars. I can easily see how much of anything I have left and they look old fashioned and homey all lined up nice and neat in my cupboard. Atmosphere is a big component of my witchcraft, so this is more important than it may seem at first. But clear glass does present a problem. Light exposure degrades the quality of many foods, so items stored in clear glass must be kept in a dark cupboard, not displayed on the counter, to ensure it stays fresh as long as possible.

Sanitation and Food Safety

Natural Cleaning Supplies

Organizing your Food Prep Space

Banishing Spells for the Home

Drawing Blessings to the Home

A Witches Kitchen Garden
Lotions, Potions and Oils
Most Kitchen Witches also enjoy making things other than food in the kitchen. From medicines to cosmetics to household cleaning products, these are all pretty easy to make with a few basic skills, tools and ingredients and, using the exact same techniques you apply to making food magical, you can infuse your medicines, cosmetics and cleaning products with your magical intentions!
Most of these potions are going to involve combining whole, fresh or dried herbs and/ or essential oils with some sort of fat, alcohol, glycerine, vinegar or water which act as carriers for the qualities of the herbs you’re using. Different carriers react differently with the herbs and carry different qualities, so you will need to learn to choose the right carrier for the right job. Sugar, salt and waxes will play a supporting role as well. You will begin by following recipes. But as you go, you become more comfortable with your carriers and how they work, and then you can start to get really creative!
We will begin by making the basic preparations and explaining how your herbal constituents act in them and then move on to more complex creations.
Water Infusions and Decoctions
A water infusion or decoction is essentially an herbal tea, unless it’s made with Camellia sinensis, then it’s just tea. An herbal tea is also called a tisane, but that’s just trivia. Infusions are very easy to make. All you really need is a container, your herbs and some water. I prefer to use distilled water because the fewer miscellaneous particulates are already floating around in the water, the more room there is for herbal goodness, but some people prefer rain water and other more energetic sources and, assuming that it is clean and safe, I am not going to argue.
Infusions can be stored in the refrigerator for about three days or you can freeze them for up to six months. If you like, you can freeze them into cubes for easy dosing. I use a covered iced cube tray for this, so that I don’t get any freezer garbage in my infusions and when they are frozen I pop them out and put them in a freezer container for long-term storage.
There are basically three types of herbal tee, the cold infusion, the hot infusion and the decoction. The cold infusion uses unheated water to gently draw out delicate constituents that might be damaged by heat, the heat infusion draws out constituents by pouring hot water over the herb and allowing it to steep. A decoction is used for tougher herbs, stems, thick bits of root and bark and involves simmering the herb for some time. Some herbs can only safely be consumed as a cold infusion because heat extracts toxins, others must be heated to destroy toxins. We aren’t going to talk about tricky, potentially toxic herbs in this book as it’s meant to be an overview, not an in-depth course. Instead, we’ll take a closer look at each method and explore when it is best to use each. You should also do your own experimenting- Prepare your herbs in different ways and see which tastes best or feels more effective to you.
Cold Infusion Essential oils and many nutrients can be lost to heat and mucilaginous compounds are changed by heat so it is often best to use a cold infusion when preparing healing infusions targeting these compounds. Some chemicals simply dissolve into water so easily that adding heat would be overkill. A cold infusion will also leave behind some constituents, including tannins and other bitter-tasting and astringent chemicals. So it can also be a good choice for herbs that are notoriously bitter tasting, though this doesn’t always work. Try cold-infusing your coffee and see if you notice a difference. Basically, any herb that loses its flavor quickly from cooking or drying, I would use in a cold infusion rather than a heat infusion, but there are some herbs recommended for cold infusion that aren’t obvious.
Peppermint, chamomile, St John’s wort, slippery Elm, witch hazel, cascara Sagrada, sumac, sarsaparilla, comfrey and marshmallow are all good candidates for cold infusion.
To prepare a cold infusion, you will need a container with a lid, your herbs, and pure water.
If you are using fresh herbs, you will need to first roughly chop them. Dried herbs can be crumbled. The smaller the pieces, the more good stuff will get into the water. Fill your container about 1/4 full of fresh herbs or about 1/8 full of dried herbs. You don’t need to smash them down. Fill the rest of the container with water, leaving an inch or two of space at the top - more space for a narrow container and you can leave less for a wider one. Cover your container tightly and give it a good shake to disperse your herbs all throughout your infusion. Now, put it in a cold place.
Cold infusions can be left to steep at room temperature or in the sun. Traditional sun tea is a cold water infusion. But this comes with a risk of spoilage so it’s better to keep them in the fridge. Assuming you are using a freezer-safe container, you can freeze and thaw your infusion as well to draw out the goodness from tougher leaves, seeds, roots and stems. Experiment to see which methods work best for you and the herbs you’re working with. The infusion should be agitated every few hours to keep things circulating and you can check on your infusion and taste it every 12 hours or so to see if you like the strength.
When your infusion is finished, simply strain it and enjoy. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days or freeze it for six months.
Moon Tea- Cold infusions can also be prepared by moonlight and charged with lunar energy. If it freezes overnight, it’s fine, just let it thaw in the fridge. You can charge it under the waxing moon for increasing (strength, vitality, romance) or the waning moon if you are preparing an infusion to get rid of something (disease, congestion, etc.). Or charge it under the full moon in a sign that corresponds to your intention for the infusion.
Hot Water Infusions - Just like making a cup of tea, a hot water infusion is created by pouring boiling water over herbs in a container. If you are just drinking your herbal tea for enjoyment, you would steep it for three minutes or so, then strain and enjoy. The finer flavors are released quickly into the water, but steeping it too long can result in bitter flavors as tannins are released. However, if you’re drinking herbal tea for medicinal purposes, you want to get more of phytochemicals into your infusion, so it will need to steep longer; 15 minutes or so.
Decoctions
Syrups and Lozenges
Once you’ve created an infusion or a decoction, half the work of creating a syrup or a lozenge is done. The rest is just sugar.

Oil Infusions and Salves
Oil infusions are herbal preparations made by extracting the oils out of plant material into a oil base. A salve is an oil infusion with a thickener added to make it easier to apply, more portable and less messy. The salve softens when it touches your warm skin, though it may linger on the surface of your skin for a bit longer than the oil infusion, and that has its advantages, especially when you’re using a salve to protect your skin from the weather.
Your first step is to make an oil infusion. All you need is your oil, your herb and a container for them.

Tinctures
Cordials
Glycerites
Infused Vinegars
Syrups

Oil Infusions

Salve

Lip Balm
Sugar Scrub
Tooth powder
Beard Oil
Soap
Liquid Soap
Tea
Syrup
Decoction
Tincture
Cold Infusion
Cordial
Herbal Oil
Herbal Vinegars
Cleaning Products
Scouring scrub
Disinfectant spray
Bath bomb
Lozenge
Salt Scrub
Bath Salts
Vinegar Hair Rinse
Baking soda scrub
Poultice
Compress

Household Magick
Give me some sugar
Light pink or red candles. Sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

Burn onion while making a wish.
Use a cut onion to absorb disease in the sick room.

Enchant a pencil to study with and take the test.

Tie a red ribbon on someone recently recovered of an illness to prevent it returning.

To protect against plague - seal a spider inside a walnut shell, wear around the neck.

A swan’s feather sewn into a lover’s pillow ensures fidelity.

Kitchen Witchery with Inedible Plants
There are many plants considered magical that are not appropriate for cooking, but this does not mean that kitchen witches need abandon them in their work. There are many ways to use inedible plants to bring their energies into your magical cooking and homemaking without ingesting them.

Create a floral arrangement including inedible magical plants to decorate your table or to bring their energy to your workspace when you are preparing a meal. You can place them in a vase, work them into a wreath or swag or press them and work them into a bit of art in a frame. Feel free to get creative.
Chose napkins and tablecloths with images of the plants embroidered or otherwise represented on them.
Place inedible but non-toxic flowers or greenery on a plate as garnish. It is important to differentiate between inedible and toxic plants. Some plants are inedible due to strong flavors that make them unpalatable or tough fibers that make them impossible to chew (some of these can still be used to make tinctures). Toxic plants will cause a toxic reaction; skin damage, inflammation, sickness and possibly death if consumed. They are usually not very tasty, but if you put it on someone’s plate, they might sample it. I once came across the recommendation to use highly toxic hellebore as a garnish in a cookbook for kitchen Witches and I do not believe this is a good idea at all. Though anybody who puts hellebore in their mouth is likely to spit it out right away, the caustic sap can damage the skin and mucous membranes! Pine needles and oak leaves look nice on a plate and take considerable effort to eat and so are not likely to be consumed and won’t cause much problems if they are. (pine needles actually make a nice tea) You can find a list of common plants and their toxicity levels at http://ucanr.edu/sites/poisonous_safe_plants/Toxic_Plants_by_Scientific_Name_685/
Create an energetic elixir. If a plant has an energy you really want to internalize but the physical plant itself is toxic, you may wish to create an energetic elixir by placing a glass jar full of pure water in a patch of the growing plant on a sunny day. As the plant and the water absorb sunlight together and the plant performs its daily metabolic functions, the water may pick up some of the plant’s energy and then can be used to prepare whatever foods you like without fear of poison.

Appendix
Food Elemental Correspondence Planetary Correspondence

Carrier Oils

Solubility of Herbal Constituents
Sources and Resources
www.swsbm.com
https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com
General notes