Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Getting Herbal

My newly replanted herb bed is growing like mad, which is wonderful...aside from the continued issues with weedy rogue mint that likes to pop up everywhere.  I use quite a bit of herbs in my cooking, from chopping them finely to add to salads, plunking a sprig into a glass of cool water, to stuffing into a chicken for roasting into dinner.  There is no way I could use all the bounty fresh, so periodically I wander outside with a pair of shears and trim bundles for drying.

Bound with some spare cotton string, each of the bundles of herbs needs to be hung in an airy location, where they will get maximum air flow with a minimum of direct sunlight.  I've found that this door frame, at the end of the stairs and next to a lovely bookcase filled with treasured novels, is perfect.  Today's haul includes (from left to right): spearmint; tarragon; thyme; oregano; sage; loveage; and lemon verbena.


To make it easy to hang them, I tie a simple open loop with the end bit of string, and hang the trussed herbs from picture hooks.  Since my most of walls are plaster over concrete block, I can't use these to hang picture frames (thank goodness for Command hooks!) but they work perfectly for this application.  I wound up with a jar full of these little goodies, and it is nice to find a use for them!

After air-drying for a week or two, all that is left is to crumble up the dried leaves by stripping them off of the dessicated stems and put them into recycled glass jars.  I find it is a good idea to clearly label what's inside the jar, as dried herbs can be deceptively "same-y" in scent and appearance sometimes.  These will be tucked away into the pantry-closet, and used for cooking blends, teas, home-made salves, and of course, cat toys. 

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