Saturday, August 16, 2014

Drying Herbs

We pick and dry several herbs for use in the winter months when the fresh herbs are not available (for a price I am willing to pay, anyways, and certain not out in our garden).  While it seems like planning for winter is crazy talk I've noticed a few trees starting to turn already and the students come back to school for the fall semester next week at the university where I work.  So, I've been drying the sage from our herb patch the last week.  It was oregano the week before that.  Next week its mint.
There are countless ways to dry herbs--stringing them, using a dehydrator or the oven, on the stem, off the stem, etc.  I just snip off a branch and lay it out to dry on a screen in the garage.  Its dry in there and warm so the herbs dry fairly quickly--depending on the species, of course--plus they aren't taking up space inside my house.  I used to dry them in my craft room.
I try to pick and dry many small batches, rather than one huge harvest.  The plants seem more productive this way--growing new sprouts where I snipped off a branch here and there--and I am not overwhelmed with work.
After they are dry I just snap the leaves off the stems.  Since they are dry its quite simple.  I store them whole in quart jars and grind or crush the dried leaves as needed.  They seem to keep their flavor better that way.
This year we're going to try our hand at making our own Italian seasoning blend.  We've always bought it because we've never really grown marjoram or rosemary.  They have an abundance for general use at our community garden so we're going to give it a try.  It seems like its one more thing we could make ourselves for practically free.  And I do love me some Italian...

2 comments:

  1. BTW. Rosemary is insanely easy to grow once it takes root from a clipping. A little root grow helps a lot and you can grow it in-doors in the winter. I had a plant that did well for about a year then died due to disease from a pest from another plant.

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    1. We want to get rosemary! Totally. A couple we know have a huge pot of it that they just bring inside in the winter and bam! Fresh rosemary year round. We had herb envy. Its on our to-do list. Bummer about yours, but I guess if its easy you could always try again.

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