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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Herb Drying Time!

The time has come to start drying the herbs from the garden for winter.  In keeping with trying to live simpler and use less money to live we decided to dry the herbs this year.  The thought didn't occur to us at all last year.  Colin had dried a few sprigs of rosemary earlier in the summer because he was training the bush into a tree and I loved the taste! The taste of fresh dried rosemary is a million times better than store bought dried herbs.  It makes me wonder why everyone does not dry their own herbs.  
So this morning off we went into the herb garden with the lovely garden basket my brother gave us for Christmas, and chipped some herbs.
We picked onions chives, rosemary, dill (our dill didn't turn out very well this year it was too hot), lavender, sage, parsley and peppermint. 

It is best to pick the herbs in the morning after the dew has dried on them and before the heat of the sun wilts them and dies out their oils.  

I shook them all to get any bugs off them and rinsed them out.  Then lay each sprig out and patted to dry.  You don't want to bundle wet herbs, this is cause mold to grow.

After they were dry I removed any discoloured leaves, as well as leaves with holes in them.  and picked off the leaves on the bottom inch of each sprig.  This gives a good space to wrap the twine around.  

 I tried to make the bundles small and interspersed the leaves so air can move through them.  Once again we don't want any mold to grow on the herbs. I also made a little hook out of some garden wire to hang on our ceiling fan in the kitchen.  

Most people hang their herbs to dry in a dark, cool ,airy, well ventilated room.  We don't have a room with those three attributes, but the most important of them important is the cool, ventilation and air flow.  So we picked the kitchen, which has been the place of herb drying for hundreds of years so I'm quite sure we can not go wrong.  We never use the fan so there is no fear of them being knocked off.     
I made sure the bundles were not touching their neighbours and will be doing a daily check to ensure their is enough air flow going through them.

They should be left to dry 2 to 4 weeks.  And after that you have delicious dried herbs!

I have some glass jam jars I am going to use to put the herbs in when dry.  A good seal is required when storing the herbs.  And they will last up to a year. I plan on using the rosemary, dill, chives and some of the sage for cooking.  I will use the peppermint, lavender and sage for scented sachets.  I can't wait until they are ready!     

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