I have always loved plants – watching my Gram garden, helping my mom plant flowers, trying to keep houseplants alive while living in apartments and finally planting my own garden. Now, my herbs love their spots so the trick has now changed from how to keep them alive to how to use all of them.
Lots of sunlight and lots of rain means that we are bursting at the seams. As much as we cook from scratch, this time of year we always have more than we can use. Then I am sad later when I need to buy dried herbs to supplement during slow growing times of the year.
While picking some for dinner a couple of weeks, my mind was wandering (which it does often) from topic to topic.
How to use the herbs -give them away to family and friends
How to have herbs all of the time -freeze them in olive oil cubes like I have seen on Pinterest or dry them.
As thoughts kept circling around, I remembered reading that herbs were hung in homes & castles as a way of freshening the air. Next came the image of herbs hanging in quaint European villages. Then it was a hmmm, let’s try something. Who cares that friends were on the way over for dinner and prep & cooking still needed to be done, I had a fun idea.
Friends arrived and we wandered back out to the garden to harvest some bunches. (Note to self, next time remember the scissors and a basket). Next I needed to round up some string and a place to hang them. Scored some string when I remembered about the kitchen twine used when we roast things, but I am sure other things around would have worked like yarn, ribbon or twine from hay bales.
I have seen herbs hung from rustic old boards and it looks awesome, but before I could go on the hunt for a board or a fallen tree branch, I realized that a curtain rod is perfect. This spot also happens to get some air flow when the AC turns on so it helped with the drying. And this spot just happens to be in the kitchen and looked great (almost like I planned it).
Took a week or so for everything to dry – it will be crinkly when you touch it. Since I liked the way everything looked it was almost hard to take it down to chop everything and store it away. Guess that means I just need to do another round. When I did chop everything up, the aroma was as strong as when they were fresh! So excited to cook with these ‘freshly dried’ herbs!!
Pick herbs when they are dry, but not in the heat of the afternoon
Shake them out to detract any critters from coming in with them.
Sort through them to ensure that there are not any critters or dirt
Bunch them up and hang them
Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and chop them into small pieces
Store in airtight containers (small herb jars are great)
Should keep 6 months to year depending on the herb and storage methods
Enjoy your herbs and your summer!