Thursday, June 16, 2011

Drying Herbs, Simply..It's a Good Thing

   Mints and thyme, rosemary and tarragon; herbs are abundant in the summer garden. This years garden season has brought uncertainty and concern- even in the herb garden. Dry heat sends the herbs to seed rather quickly, so harvesting and snipping must be done regularly. Since there is not end to the drought in sight we have started harvesting and preserving our herbs early.
   For this little homestead herbs are preserved ... simply. Early in the day, when the herbs are fresh and as cool as can be expected (smile) we slip into the herb beds and gather cuttings- trying to keep them separate and easy to identify. One way our garden gal - simplyjen- solves this dilemma is to prepare small note cards; labeled with a hole punched in one corner.
   As we gather herbs, the little card is placed with the herb it identifies. Once a basket is filled, I take the herb bouquets and gather them with kitchen twine- placing the card on the bundle using the little hole punched in the side. The bundles are hung in the kitchen until they dry completely.
   Once dry, the bundles are stored in airtight container until needed- our little card label is taped to the outside of the jar (our airtight containers are generally canning jars). Always on hand and readily available for the time when fresh herbs are scarce or unavailable.
   There you have it- plain and simple- herbs; harvested, stored and dried for's a good thing!

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