Saturday, June 5, 2010
Drying the bounty......
I am graced with an abundance of some herbs, in particular Rosemary, Lemonbalm, Mint (both pepper and spearmint), Borage.....and recently, Mugwort.
Though I enjoy just looking at them or brushing up against them when I am out and about in the yard, I have been experimenting with different methods of drying and preserving this fabulous bounty.
This picture is not me in my yard :), but me at my friend Julie's demo garden (see more below).
Please share if you have had success drying or preserving (tincturing?) that are not mentioned.
Lemonbalm: The best thing so far for me: hanging upside down to dry. It does not take very long, and I have learned to take down the sprigs as soon as the leaves are crispy to preserve the lemony freshness we love. It is a bit tedious to remove the dry leaves from the sprigs without them crumbling to nothingness (I like LB big, like Texas...), but am getting the hang of it after my third harvest.
Oregano: Hang. Dries easily, and I just zip it right into a container by stripping the branch.
Chamomille: Plant tray laid out with a piece of screen, sitting on a piece of newspaper to catch anything that falls through...
Rosemary: Hanging. Strip right into the container. I use the stripped branches for my Kitchen Witches :).
Lavender: Cut fronds and tie upside down in a paper bag. As Lavender dries, just shake the bag. The little lavender buds will shake down :).
Calendula: Got to visit my friend Julie at the farm where she sells her organic plants (check out Peas & Harmony), and they are bursting with Calendula! Picked some, and am drying in plant trays. This way they get air all around, no turning necessary. I have read that they need to stay out of the sun....
I also have a ton of mint. I am not sure that I want to dry it, but will try mint jelly and mint pesto start with. Will report back when I do. The same with the Borage. The little white flowers taste like cucumbers :), other than that, we have only used the new leaves in "Gruenne Sosse".