“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Getting To Know Herb - Part I

If you've noticed the price of dried organic herbs in the market, planting them is an economical way to bring good taste to your meals.  Whether you have a windowsill with a few plants or a garden full of variety and quantity, herbs can transform food by imparting certain regional and ethnic flavors.  I prefer to use fresh herbs whenever possible ... and drying a good portion for winter use.  If you live in a cold or short growing season, many herb plants can be covered with mulch to overwinter ... only to re-sprout new growth come spring.  Other herbs reseed themselves ... and some need to be dug up and brought inside.  Snow makes a good insulator for lavender.

Herb Drying Tips

  1. Pick before the plant produces flowers
  2. Pick them in the cool of the morning
  3. Rinse only if necessary to remove dirt, pat dry
  4. Mulch around the base of the plants to keep dirt off the leaves
  5. Gather up 5-7 sprigs and tie with twine or rubberbands
  6. Hang the herb bundles in a hot location such as in the rafters of a shed or garage
Once dry, remove leaves from stems and keep in an airtight labeled jar in a cool dark location.  Use within one year.  Growing, drying and processing herbs is a labor of love ... and once you've done it you will appreciate the convenience of having your favorites on hand all year long ... as well as knowing why they cost a pretty penny.  Non organic herbs may have been sprayed with chemicals and/or been irradiated.  Just another reason to grow your own. 

6 comments:

meemsnyc said...

These are great tips. I'm hoping to dry some of the herbs I grow this summer.

Kathryn said...

I just noticed yesterday i'm out of oregano. Thing is, i think my oregano plant died. I've been rather hit & miss with my herbs this year. Enjoying my sweet basil, tho. :)

Thanks for this info.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Mrs. Mac,
I enjoyed your post. I am taking a break from cleaning out a closet in my dining room, making myself go through my cookbooks.

I love growing and cooking with herbs. I get some dried, but sometimes don't get to the oregano before it blooms. You have some good tips there.

Mr. H. said...

The price of herbs in the store is pretty amazing, glad we grow our own. I like that you keep your herbs in glass jars. We have been using ziplock bags for ours but I would like to get away from that and switch to glass.

MAYBELLINE said...

I hang the herbs head 1st into a paper bag. That way the dust and dirt keeps off of your cleaned herbs and if anything falls free the bag will catch it.

Pat said...

Herb and I are good friends, he hangs out in the back yard in his own special box!