Winter is the time we reminisce about the garden, especially in January. It’s this time of year, I am glad for my stash of dried herbs. Herbs that I’ve managed to quickly and easily store for cooking and herbal teas. The benefits are myriad, and the time spent collecting is easy.
How to collect your herbs:
• Use garden clippers to take the best shoots from each plant. (Taking the clippings will encourage new growth on your herb plants.)
• It is best to clip your herbs in the afternoon after the dew and damp has dried off.
• Gently shake the stems to loosen off any bugs. Examine the leaves and stems for any other “guests” and remove them. Remember to release those beneficial bugs back to your garden!
• Hang the clippings upside in a loose bunch to dry, somewhere out of direct sunlight.
• You may also place them in a paper bag to keep dust away. Then hang them upside down inside the bag.
• I take the easy route: I’ve had success simply placing them loosely in a basket and allowing them to dry. I place the basket in the pantry.
Once completely dry, you may continue to store them in the paper bag or basket, or you may take off the dried leaves and place them in glass jars. There are great glass jars often available at your local thrift store or antique mall.
Easy herbs to dry include sage, lavender, anise hyssop, thyme and oregano. Use the dried herbs for your teas and all your recipes. The secret to great dried herbs is to remember to always throw away last year’s batch once the new batch is dry and ready to use. This provides the best flavor.