I just love having an herb garden! With little effort, nature produces tons of free herbs that last the entire year. It amazes me every spring to see the barren dead ground come alive and provide lush fresh herbs to be used in cooking, homemade scent blends, aromatherapy and more. Some of the herbs in my garden are mint, chives, sage, lemon balm, catnip, and oregano.
Even if you don’t have a garden, you can have herbs, even tender perennials, inside on windowsill. You can also get herbs in season at the local farmers market and dry them yourself. I’ve found the best place to dry them is in the attic. The heat and dry air work wonderfully. If you don’t have an attic you can use, check with a neighbor. They might be willing to “rent” you the space in exchange for some herbs of their own.
When I purchase fruit, vegetables or herbs I always soak them in vinegar for a few minutes and rinse well. When I bring in herbs from the garden, I soak them for a few minutes in salt. If any little pests were carried in with the herbs, they will soon make a run from salt.
The easiest way to wash them is with a salad spinner. Let them soak for a few minutes in the basket, then lift out, rinse well and put the basket back in the salad spinner and spin. Stop the spinner, pour out any water, replace the basket and spin again. You probably won’t even need to pat them with a paper towel but you can if you like.
The easiest containers to dry herbs on are the trays (flats) you get from the nursery that annual flowers come in. There are a few different styles. I try to get the ones that are flat on the bottom but the other kind will work as well. Just lay the herbs out spreading them evenly across. If the flats you find have very large holes on the bottom you can cover it with a piece of screen.
When placing the trays in the attic, I rest them on small plastic bins (the kind in the dollar store that looks like a little laundry basket- has square openings on the sides) This way the trays are not on the floor but lifted up so that air can circulate all around. Check on them in a few days, they should be a crispy dry, with no signs of moisture.
To make labels, I just typed up what I wanted and used a clear frame stamp. Stamp with clear ink, emboss with silver embossing powder. Simply cut out and run through a Xyron adhesive sticker maker. Store herbs in a glass jar in a cool dry space.
Dry herbs can also make a great gift! Take a jar of oregano and basil and add a jar of gourmet sauce and a pizza stone. Include a recipe for homemade pizza and you’re all set!
See what you can create with Summer’s bounty.
All the best,