Sunday, April 29, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Herbs

   A variety of herbs are essential to a kitchen garden; such flavor and fragrance they bring to our table. I am often found roaming about my herb garden, cup of coffee in hand, gathering snippettes and pinches from lovely plants- all to be used in the kitchen that day. Knowing that pest and elements can reek havoc on the garden at any time, preserving these fragrant delights is a must.
   Once the herbs have been in the ground for a few weeks, I like to start pinching out bits here and there to encourage growth and fullness. As the plant expands, a nice 'haircut' is in order to keep the plant active and out of bloom. These lovely cuttings then need put up for later use- for those days when the fresh ones are no longer at my finger tips.
   My favorite method of preservation for herbs is open air drying. Their delicate leaf retains its oils and aromas best, in my opinion, when handled the least before use. 
   Open air drying is, to me, the simplest form of preservation; string, labels and a place to hang them is all you need.
I start by cutting a length of cotton thread (or any other natural fiber scrap such as cotton yarn) into lengths approximately twelve inches long. I wrap it around the gathered stems of my herbs making a loop on one loose end.
A label is slipped over the loop...
before they are hung..away from direct sunlight.

For those little snips that are gathered here and there.....
I place them at random, plenty of space between the leaves, on a mesh liner from my dehydrator (or a paper towel, flour sack towel, or cooling rack). Labels are placed near the herb...
and they are placed either in the oven (not turned on- just empty) or on the book shelf out of the way.

Once the herbs are completely dry I tuck them into canning jars for safe keeping.






garden link up

4 comments:

Clint Baker said...

I will show the wife this one!

Simply Scaife Family said...

Thank you:)

Heidi said...

This is great! Thank you.

Your friend,
Heidi

Heidi said...

This is great! Thank you.

Your friend,
Heidi