Herbology 101: One Person's Take on the Taste of Herbs via Vaporizer (or Inhaling is a Learned Skill)
Greetings and salutations Generation Vape-rs! It's our first group foray into a subject that just shouts "Vaporizer." It's Herbology 101. There will be no grades given, no pencils needed, just an open mind and a smile! Welcome to the first of (hopefully) many reports on many subjects from me, Marilyn, The one, the only, Generation Vape SpokesBoomer!
As much as I would like, I can claim no insight, no special knowledge or anything like that. Instead, I'm just another person who, after years of herbal experimentation of all kinds, was ready to learn something new. I learned so much from VapeNow.com that I knew that the vaporizer had to be the next thing I had to buy! Heck, I reasoned, it's time I unfurled my lazy herbal imagination and learned to really inhale! Look at that HUGE balloon! Since this adventure in modern living seemed to be significantly safer fun than sky jumping (another fantasy for the alternate universe me who isn't deathly afraid of falling), it seemed that the vaporizer was the preferred unexplored path. The biggest question I had in deciding to purchase a vaporizer was whether vaporized herbs and other materials taste differently than combusted ones? Of course, the very first question I had was... which vaporizer was meant to grace my desk.
After an incredibly fruitful visit at Vapenow.com I determined that the Volcano was the one vaporizer for me. It is a personal decision as to whether you wish to purchase a Volcano and the purchase is often based on finances. As I felt the purchase of the Volcano might improve the efficacy of medications I take due to years of severe spinal fluid leakage (nasty just to think of it, isn't it)... the decision was finances tempered with usefulness and heartiness/ruggedness of build (I am a documented klutz of the highest order). To say the very least, the Volcano met and actually exceeded my expectations. That is the true mark of quality (and I should know, I'm a professional in the Quality Management field).
Taste just isn't important, it's everything. Deciding that it was my current mission in life to start my own "taste that herb/vegetable" chart, I decided to give my business to the local organic store. It's always great to shop at an organic store. The folks are kinder than most and are far more informed about health than a regular store clerk. If you harbor a desire to talk Omega 3's and fatty acids, I recommend the local organic store.
Probably the most common response from my healthy food helpers as I prowled the produce for vaping material was "What's a vaporizer?" I am amazed that Americans young and old are not up with the times. Perhaps it's because the search for herbs stopped at hops and they all drink beer?? Perhaps, this can be a topic for another installment of Generation Vape? That's a great idea and I think it has merit! The other thought that comes to mind is how to inform without being schoolish (okay, there is not a word "schoolish" but it's what I need and it will do. After all, when I was a child, SPAM was a nearly inedible product made by Hormel and now...) So, there's a learning curve that someone needs to ascend to teach others... maybe it's me??
Because I am fortunate enough to have a "Volcano" (the most incredible vaporizer on the planet), I decided to dry out the plants using sunshine (we have LOTS of that here) and I decided to do my experiments on the back porch (so as not to stench up the house -- this was, in retrospect, probably why I'm still married?). It took several days (about five) for the leaves to dry to break point. While moisture is a wonderful thing, too much moisture leaves your herb not small enough to have the air waft around it. Try to make sure your herbs are dried before using them in the vaporizer. Crumble well. The orange grinder you get with the Volcano on the VapeNow.com site works incredibly well.
This is the premiere of the herb/veggie experiments, by the way. Searching for more herbs and veggies to taste may be an ongoing experiment with a few more every installment of Generation Vape.
From the three helpers at the organic store, I received these upon which to experiment:
Home raised chives - grass-like long skinny onion-y tasting things. Many people have these in their box gardens or all over the borders as chives are very tasty right out of the ground and make a pretty border as well.
Spinach greens - if you've ever had collards, these are a milder form of green. They are wonderful if you know someone who cooks Southern (I know of such a person) and they are not wonderful if you have someone who just boils them (sort of like the bitterest spinach in the world upon taste test). A very common vegetable (not an herb, sorry, but the person who brought it was so curious, I just couldn't say no).
Fresh and dried oregano leaves - what a difference they make in appearance and basic taste. I've always wanted to see the stuff fresh and am fascinated on what it will taste like fresh and dried.
Finally, from a dear friend with a rose garden, several of her favorite rose petals in full bloom. I asked her for some fresh ones and she gave me a newly opened rose and one that was starting to wilt (to see if the taste changed when the age changed). Again, I realized that rose petals were not exactly herbs, but they used to be integral parts of certain remedies for what ailed us in the old days (even before my grandmother's time).
As with the good in life, there come some very important things to know. These are the No's of vaping. There are more, we just haven't come to them yet. As we do, I will point them out. We are beginning our list of "no's" with these few insights from the good old SpokesBoomer (me):
WHAT NOT TO DO EVEN WITH HERBS/VEGS THAT TASTES GOOD RAW
Avoid the stems and seeds of anything you are vaping. If you have been, in the past, someone who included the more tender shoots and stalks into your mixture of herbs, I suggest that this habit may give you a very woody taste... and wood tastes like wood, period. It was different in the old days. A bit of bulk was helpful to keep things together. There is no need to keep things together in a vaporizer. One wants to get out all the freshness and goodness from the herbs. You won't find them in the stems, seeds, stalks. You only find them in the herb proper.
The more delicate the color of the herb, the less heat will be needed to get to right before combustion. Remember, if you wanted combustion, you'd smoke. Instead, you want the healthy vapors that will make you feel better and/or good.
If you burn what you are vaping you will know. Chalk it up to bad karma and don't inhale it. It stinks. Really! It will taste as bad as it smells. Honest! I tried it. It stunk. It made me retch. It was GROSS. Do yourself a favor and believe me. No? Okay. It's your choice.
Be careful that when you use the Volcano that you watch where you are placing the temperature. There is a BIG difference between 5.0 and 6.0. Check it every time. There's nothing worse than realizing that your 5.0 vape was miraculously changed to a 6.0 vape by a touch of a hand or finger. Its a common problem and it's one I have yet to solve.
Finally, let's discuss expenses in experimenting with herbs and vegetables. If you have a Volcano, you need bags. If you experiment with herbs you may need more than one bag. I found that the biggest expense was not the herbs or veggies (they were donated). Instead, the most costly was the use of volcano bags. No matter what you might have heard, volcano bags are incredibly strong and can last a VERY long time. The only problems have to do with the residue remaining in the system pieces and whether or not the bag retains some of that residue thereby rendering it useless. In the chart labeled "Table 1" you will note that I have included a column as to whether or not you can/should reuse the bag. It's a personal decision and, again, while finance is one thing, do I really want to taste a waft of skunky smelly onions and greens emanating from the nozzle for the next 100 times?
Next time on Generation Vape, we will continue on our quests and find new ones. Maybe new taste tests? Maybe trying out new products! Who knows?? Whatever happens, it won't be the same without your vicarious participation. Tell me if there is something you would like to see vaped. Of course, all silly ones will be sent via snail mail to your ISP ;)
Until next time, it's Marilyn and Wally (the Volcano). Because Wally is German, his name is pronounced "Volley..." (Volley the Volcano... get it??) aaarghhh...
Table 1: A subjective tour through several herbs and vegetables as ingested via Volcano bag system
|Material||Material Color||Setting on Volcano||Bag Reusable?||How does it taste??|
|Rose Petals||Pink||3.5 max||YES - the herbs following the use of the rose petals were made more pleasant by the rose scent||Initial taste like that candy that tastes like roses... then it goes to a leafish taste|
|Oregano (Fresh)||Greenish||5.0-5.5||Maybe - but the taste is so incredibly delicate that it would be a shame to waste on other herbs||Sort of like the end of a great sauce on your tongue.|
|Oregano (Dried)||Brownish Green||5.0 max||Maybe - if the smell of the beginnings of good sauce is a good one for you, then do it||Exactly as you might think it does - like the worst you-know-what you have ever tried.|
|Spinach Greens (Fresh)||Dark Green||6.0||NO NO NO... gad what a stench||I prefer collards. These were STRONG and rather not like spinach.|
|Spinach Greens (Dried)||Darker Green/Black||6.0-6.5||NO NO NO... I thought it might be different dried. I was wrong||Very very very strong spinach odor but no good taste.|
|Chives (Fresh)||Bright Green||5.0-5.5||Maybe - if you don't mind a little bit of onion in your mouth for a while (5 times before taste it went away).||Very oniony. Almost like peeling an onion without the crying.|
|Chives (Dried)||Forest Green||5.0||Maybe but only if you don't mind onion for a longer while - 20 and counting so far with some residual taste||Mild onion taste that stays with you for a LONG time.|
Worthy of Note: Dried herbs are often stronger in taste than the fresh variety. If you have ever made your own Bearnaise Sauce, you are aware that both dried and fresh tarragon are used in the making. While the dried tarragon lends an incredibly herbal taste to the red meat treat, it is the fresh tarragon added at the end that makes taste buds sparkle! It's the same with most herbs.