Friday, September 24, 2010

Drying and Storing Herbs

I can't believe how time slips away between posts here. I've been doing a lot of seasonal chores, and some kitchen experimenting, and I know a lot of it would be interesting to my readers. I find myself composing blog posts in my head, and then never seem to find the time to sit down and type. I have taken some photos too, so will try to use them to rebuild a bit of my activity of the past few weeks.

Between the rigors of late Spring freezes meaning a slow start to the garden season, a summer on the cool side, and Bambi's predation, my harvest is going to be somewhat meager. I haven't been doing very much canning this year. The nights are still hanging in there above freezing, with the lowest of the lows in the high 30's, so I'm still hoping for a bit more from the tomatoes, squashes, and peppers. Right now, I'm harvesting herbs.

Perennial herbs are great. I love that they're, for the most part, low maintenance and drought tolerant. Once I find the just the right spot for each one, they pretty much take care of themselves. Throughout the summer, I snip bits here and there for fresh use. But now it's time to clean things up for the winter, cutting the plants back and hanging labeled bunches to dry.

I use rubber bands on the bunches (tying with string not so good - the stems shrink as they dry and will slip out of string) and then use old drapery hooks for hangers. The pointy part slips beneath the rubber band, the hook part fits over the edge of a high shelf. Once dry, I crumble the leaves from the big stems into a large colander set atop a piece of newspaper. Then a combination of shaking and more crumbling separates out the smaller stems and leaves me with reasonably uniformly shaped bits of dried herbs to last me through the winter and spring. My tea herbs are stored in clear glass jars I've lined with paper to protect them from the light; brown glass bouillon powder jars are reused to hold the cooking herbs.

1 comment:

Annodear said...

You are so organized :-)
Love the pics!!