Thursday, October 27, 2016

Drying Herbs

315.  My herb garden was ideal this year with beautiful plants and hardy growth.  Thyme, parsley, oregano, dill, rosemary, cilantro and chives to name a few.  To step outside and pinch off a few branches to add to my cooking is always a delight.
But once the cool air creeps in and plants slow their growth or frost stops them, you have to depend on grocery bought products.   So my solution is to dry the fresh and save them for cooking.  When there are more herbs than I can use on a daily basis, I will cut off bunches and secure them in bundles with a rubber band.  Then hang them in my kitchen to dry.  Or you could place them in a dehydrator or the oven on low temperature.  I find air drying them works best for me.
Once the herbs have become completely dried through I take them down and crush the leaves in a bowl.
Saving herbs by drying them may take time and effort but will save you money. And, in the long run you will see the difference in flavor.

"Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get."
-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Saving Herbs

314. Fall tiptoed into our lives this past year with beautiful sunny days into November.  My herbs were still growing beautifully and some had began to throw seed.  When this happens I like to collect seeds for the next growing season, as well as drying the herbs for use in cooking all winter long.My dill was beautiful this year and it was mostly seeds that started themselves from last years random seed drop sown into a variety of different destinations.  It was a delight to see a dill plant spring up out of seemingly nowhere.
Because it did so well, I saved seed from several plants.  I let them go beyond the flower stage and completely dry.  Next, I carefully cut off the dried stem and then rubbed my fingers over the seed ends at the top of the dried stem.  The seeds drop off easily.
Once they were sorted through I placed them in envelopes and marked them with the year date of collection.  Now to buy a packet of good seeds you would spend around $2.99 to $5.99 depending on the brand.  You would only get about a teaspoon of seeds in each packet.  I had so many seeds I could have filled 50 packets...and multiply that times $5.99...well lets just say, I could have made a few dollars on this gold mine!
I also dried dill branches for cooking by collecting the stems and tying them with a rubber band.  Then hang them in my kitchen till they are completely dry.
 I then placed the dried branches into a bowl and crush it with my hands.
The branches must be very dry to crumble easily.  
Make sure they are small enough pieces in order to fit through the plastic cap with holes for sifting.
 Then I place the crumbled pieces in a store bought jar as a refill.
This is such a great addition to your spices because the flavor is stronger and fresher than most store bought products.
It's so simple to do, it just takes a little of your time and effort.

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."


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