As the days grow shorter and the temperatures cooler our once vibrant garden is slowly fading away. The tomatoes have been roasted and canned. The peppers chopped and in the freezer alongside shredded zucchini and strawberries. The only plants remaining are the herbs. I hate the thought of letting anything from the garden go to waste, so this year, I’m drying them. It’s really not as complicated as you might think, taking very little time or effort.
Can’t you just imagine all the flavor that could be added to those comforting, winter soups or breads using herbs you’ve dried yourself?
Oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary, parsley or marjoram
These herbs are considered lower moisture herbs and can be dried in brown lunch sacks over a couple of days.
1. Cut herbs in the quantity you wish to dry, from mature plants. Gently shake each branch to remove any insects or loose dirt. Remove any damaged or browning leaves.
2. Rinse cut herbs in cold water and allow to completely dry on paper towels. Wet herbs tend to mold, so make sure they are dry.
3. Label brown bags with the names of each herb you are drying. Place the herbs in the brown bag and fold over top to close.
4. Allow bag to sit in cool, dry place. After a couple of days you’ll have dried herbs.
5. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.
Add to soups and sauces by grinding the dried herbs just before use to release their oils and full flavor.
1. Follow directions for steps 1 and 2 above.
2.. After chives are washed and dry, chop and separate them into equal portions. Place in freezer bags in freezer until needed for use. There’s no need to take them out ahead, they thaw very quickly.
Basil, tarragon and mint
These herbs are considered higher moisture herbs and will mold if not dried quickly. Placed in a single layer they can be dried in the sun, in a low heat oven (140-200 degrees F, 65 degrees C) over a few hours or in a dehydrator.
What are your favorite ways to save the flavors of the growing season? Drying, canning, freezing? Share you methods and ideas!