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Saturday, 26 October 2013
Drying herbs (and flower petals and leaves???)
Topic: Education and Values

Dry some herbs? (Or petals or floral leaves?)

Might be your last chance


It's not too late to salvage some of your woody herbs and other perennial herbs before they go dormant. And maybe you are lucky enough to still have some parsley or cilantro or even basil  tolerating the colder weather. Why not harvest a bunch of these herbs and dry them-- then make your own "soup-and- stew" blend to use throughout the winter months...and don't forget you can even make a fine tea out of your dried mint leaves while you're at it!


Cut full stems of herbs and then wash in a cool water bath, changing water as needed. You can then spin them in a salad spinner, if you have a lot, or layer them between paper towels and pat dry. Cut off the stems of parsley, cilantro, mint because you just want dried leaves. But leave thyme, oregano, and rosemary on the stems until they are dried because they will be easier to strip from the stems when dried.


Then it's time for drying. I use a food dehydrator, well worth the initial expense because you can dry herbs with minimal heat but adjust up the heat as needed to dry other products like fruits and jerky. (And maybe some rose petals or pine needles for potpourri)

 

 

It's versatile. However, you can also make your own dehydrator for herbs with a simple box fan and using a sanitized window screen on which to layer the herbs --in a warm room or porch.


Using the food dehydrator, it will take about eight hours (overnight) to dry sprigs of thyme, parsley, cilantro, mint, and basil leaves, oregano, rosemary and similar herbs. High water content, larger leaves such as sage will take twice as long.


Layer the leaves in a single layer and dry. Sprigs should dry first, then “strip” the leaves off. Combine your dried herbs and store in a glass container.

Now—for some REAL fun—look at this wonderful idea my friend and piano teacher, Sonja Bauer, gave me this week.

How about drying the leaves of your remaining scented geranium plants and then layering them in pure cane sugar? If you dry the leaves, layer them in sugar in a glass jar and let them set for a few weeks....

 

 

You'll have this amazing geranium scented sugar to lace your favorite tea with as the snow flies next month! And –doesn't that look like a wonderful hostess gift for the holidays???


 


Posted by Karen at 19:31 CDT
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