Monday, September 28, 2009

Herbage....



In anticipation of a possible frost, yesterday I snipped all the flat leaf parsley and basil and brought it in to be dried. In the past, I have tied bunches of herbs by their stems to dry, but it seems like such a crumbly mess when it comes time to untie them and separate the leaves from the stems. This year, after reading a page in the Martha Stewart Living, September '09, I decided to do my herb drying a little differently. I held my herb stems upside down and snipped each leaf away individually from the stems. I dropped them onto newspaper to air dry for a couple of days or so. Martha says to dry herbs on a tea towel for 2-4 days and then store them in an airtight jar. Another bright suggestion I may try is to combine equal parts of the dried herbs (finely crumbled) with an equal amount of course salt and use it as a seasoning for all your cooking needs. Wouldn't these herb'd salts make nice gifts too?

I have yet to gather up my mint and the wild rose hips. Once dried, I use these for teas. Mint tea will settle a queasy stomach and rose hips, crushed and steeped, have more vitamin C than any citrus fruit. I sometimes combine the rose hips with other teas I like for added nutritional value in the winter months when colds and flu are rampant. For more ways to use your herbs, you might like to click over to Martha Stewart's page on medicinal uses for herbs -- most of them used in teas.

I left the rosemary and thyme in the garden, thinking that they are hearty enough to withstand a light frost. I'd like to continue using those fresh for as long as I possibly can. I adore these two herbs together in stews, on roasts and brisket, and they are delicious with pork too. Chicken on the grill on in the roasting pot is also deliciously enhanced by rosemary and thyme.

Are you drying herbs this fall?
What kinds will you be stowing away for fall and winter cooking or for medicinal purposes? Do any of you keep indoor herb gardens?

9 comments:

  1. I was wondering what to do with my huge patch of parsley - in the past I've just picked it, washed and frozen it. It works for soups and stews. I've never tried to dry it.

    There are zillions of rose hips growing wild around here - and I have a lovely little bunch of mint growing near the house as well. Hope you do a post on preserving them.

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  2. Just whipping by for a quick visit. We're still at 90 degrees and there is no frost in sight so I got kinda tickled at your urgent urgency! We had so little rain that what little I planted did not grow well....let me know how yours all turns out and what you cook with them! The only spice I cook with is garlic,cumin, salt and pepper....I know - boring.

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  3. I have never raised herbs until this year .i raised some cilantro but its all gone . Bet your have cheaper grocery bill .those herbs are expensive.
    Elsie <><

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  4. I've been studying herbs for medicinal purposes and am growing some inside this year. I haven't tried drying them, but your post makes me think I should give it a try. Thanks for the MS link, it has some good info. Linda

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  5. Oooh, I should get my herbs in tonight -- your frost is coming our way. Your herbs all look great! My mom was just asking about freezing herbs over the weekend so we did a little internet research. Have you ever tried freezing your herbs? I'd like to have an indoor garden, but I've been told that cats will eat it?

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  6. Island Sparrow,

    I've never frozen my herbs, but I think it sounds like a good idea. I'm thinking they'd taste "fresher" than dried, but I don't know. I dry rose hips and mint too, but I'll bet they could be frozen as well.

    Cottonpicker,
    I use parsley in lots of things: potato soup (and other soups), in shrimp scampi, stews, pot pies and etc. Rosemary and thyme in all kinds of meats.

    Elsie,
    It seems like my grocery bill is still high, but the herbs that are brought in and dried from the garden are much fresher and better tasting.

    Linda,
    What herbs do you use most medicinally? Do you have some info on your blog?

    Thimbleanna,
    Thankfully, we didn't get a frost, but it sure got chilly -- 33*. But by Thursday it sounds like we'll have possible s___! (The dreaded S word).

    Jody

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  7. I haven't done a post yet, but I plan to. I've been having a lot of problems with nausea and I use to use ginger, but I also found that mint is very good. I've also started using cinnomon is my tea it is good for a lot of things having to do with tummy problems and it's good for diabetics. I'm growing lemon balm which is good for fevers, cold, flu, coughs. I've been reading "A Kids Herb Book" by Lesley Tierra. It's been very helpful. I've bought some dried herbs because the ones I'm growing are so small right now. The book teaches how to make. Linda

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  8. You will be so happy in winter for all the work you have done. I dried lemon verbena all summer. I am waiting on basil. Most of my other herbs are hearty enough or two small. My mom (as she posted) is busy drying herbs and I was given a huge amount of dried tarragon from Mary xoxox Clarice

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  9. Linda,

    I'll have to look into the "Kids Herb Book." It sounds very interesting.

    Clarice,

    I just snipped some of my thyme and rosemary today since we're expecting a snow overnight. It may be fine, but I don't want to chance not having any of those herbs.

    Lemon verbena sounds really nice.

    Jody

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