Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Drying Your Herbs Made Simple and Smells from the Herb Garden Contained!

Herbal Worktable Overload!
Lemon Thyme and Marjoram
Orange Mint or Any Mint for That Matter
An Experiment with Pineapple Sage.  Don't Waste Your Time!
Lemon Eucalyptus (Smells like Murphy's Oil Soap)
An Old Canning Jar and Odds and Ends from the Herb Garden!
I Wish You Could Smell My Herb Garden!

We are really down to crunch time in the herb garden.  We have the "s" and "f" words in our forecast for Saturday!  So I wanted to give you a sense of how under control (or not) I am.  Actually the worktable above looks a bit better than in this photo.

As you know by now, I don't do anything very difficult.  I first want you to take a deep breath and let it out and think positively, herbally speaking.  Don't get crazy cutting a lot of herbs to dry.  If you are planning on making gifts with herbs and you haven't cut until now, then go crazy cutting.  Be aware that over cutting at this time of year could bring problems next year.  Also, if you are within the sound of my voice, you should have been cutting all along and not doing too much now.

What always happens to me is that the worktable is my place for throwing cuttings that I cut by mistake (Yes, I do make mistakes!) and an herb I want to try and dry.  So literally I end up with this mess of mixed herbs that I can tell what they are after they are dried and some become just filler.  I decided this year to be more methodical and try to caption my herbs for drying between paper towels.  I write in pen the name of the herb.  Very simple.  You may think this is wasteful, but the herbs perfume the paper towels and they are recycled and used for all kinds of uses once the herbs are dried.

So here is my short list of herbs (in no particular order) (that I have experience in drying with this method) that you can dry either between paper towels or hanging in small bunches by rubber bands on a wire of some kind.

Lemon verbena
Mints of every kind
Lemon balm
Scented geranium leaves, especially rose, lemon & peppermint
Sage Leaves
Lamb's Ears
Lavender Flowers
German chamomile (on a paper towel then place in a lidded container)  Make sure the flowers are very dry before placing in a container.  I ruined a whole batch of flowers because they weren't completely dry and they got mold.
Roses as with the German chamomile flowers, you want to make sure they are completely dry before placing in a container.
Calendula Petals
Bee balm Petals and Leaves
Lemon Eucalyptus leaves (Silver Dollar Eucalyptus is preserved with glycerin.)
Oregano and Marjoram
Curry leaves and flowers (Helichrysum italicum)
I did try to dry some pineapple sage leaves because I found some recipes calling for dried fruit sage leaves.  I have always thought that pineapple sage should be used fresh and have it chopped finely sometimes in my morning fruit.  And of course, I make pineapple sage jelly.  I am sorry to report that pineapple sage leaves do not dry with any scent whatsoever.  The Herbal Husband who has quite a nose on him couldn't get any scent of pineapple or sage.  I was disappointed.

So I hope this helps you in your last minute cutting and drying.  I am sure I have missed something on this list.  Not complete by any means!  We were 20 degrees colder today than yesterday.  We are just going downhill from here and we are supposedly going to have "snow" "flurries" over the weekend.  I am enjoying the canning jar I did with all of my odds and ends from the garden.  I may just make a little label to remind me what year it came from!  Hope you had a great day!  Talk to you later!  

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