|What An Herbal Mess!|
One of my faithful readers, Faith asked a few weeks ago how I dry my herbs and how do I use them. Faith, depending on how much time I have, I either hang them or layer them in paper toweling. You can dry them in a very slow oven or in the microwave. I have an electric stove. It would be better in a gas oven and microwaves are hit or miss. I just let them air dry naturally. You must make sure that the herbs are dry not wet from rain or dew so that they don't get moldy. I don't put a whole lot of stems together, because they will not dry easily. Here is a link to a previous post, Drying Your Herbs Made Simple and Smells from the Herb Garden Contained! that may be of help.
That post talks about paper towel layering which I love because you get a bonus of scented paper toweling. The two main reasons I dry my herbs are to make potpourri for gift giving and to make herbal tea. I also make herb mixes if I have enough herbs cut. Most times I don't have that luxury.
Potpourri my way is getting a big container and it is usually a plastic one with a cover. I have gotten in trouble suggesting plastic containers as storage. If the herbs are at all wet and have not dried, you will get moldy herbs not dry ones. And that has happened to me. I am not immune from mistakes! Glass containers with tops are preferred and tinted ones even better so the herbs do not fade. I have some really big old glass jars that came from a commercial kitchen. I think all of those jars are now plastic not glass. Any way I just dump my ingredients into the container and mix it all up. And then as I make gifts, I use tiny hemlock cones to infuse the potpourri with essential oils with individual containers. Ingredients can include lemon verbena, rose petals, lavender flowers, mints, thyme, calendula petals, etc. Continuing the Potpourri Conversation and Getting Crazy with the Boxes! has a bunch of potpourri resources. Unless you want to buy your ingredients, you will be limited by what you dry. But I have found that recipients are very amazed and grateful that you thought enough about them to give them a gift from your herb garden. Simple Holiday Crafts with Herbs that I wrote for Mother Earth Living several years ago has some more favorite tips. Just be sure to click on the Continue Reading tab to get the full post! As I said in that post, a potpourri recipe is like a culinary recipe and you may not have all of the ingredients, but you may find a new combination that works better for you.
I sometimes don't talk enough about an herbal subject as I should and tea maybe one of them. I did a post for Mother Earth Living in 2014 that was called Celebrate National Hot Tea Month and it will give you three of my favorite herbal tea blends and some other resources. Again find that Continue Reading button and click it to get the full post! Making Herbal Tea Blends gives you a French tisane recipe favorite and Tea Around Town you will find a link to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article that has a bunch of information that I think you will find useful. Again, it does come down to the herbs you have dried and how you will use them. Hopefully these resources will give you some great ideas!
Coming to the end of another year, 2017! I will be doing my year-end review in the next post! Not much to review although I did manage to do at least one post per month over the year! It is frigid in the 'Burgh and as I sit sipping a lemon ginger tea (lemongrass, ginger, lemon peel and a cinnamon stick) to make me feel better, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I didn't get Christmas presents, I got a cold! Healthy all year and get to the holidays and collapse! I think it is that way for a lot of people! Stay warm if you in the northern half of the U.S. I will talk to you later.