Monday, September 28, 2009
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?