Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Drying herbs

I love growing herbs, drying them and storing them up for the winter. Actually, I just like growing stuff! As I look around my living room, I currently have 7 plants, 1 pot full of mint, 2 pots with 10 lettuce plants growing, a little pot with lavender, another with chamomile, also one with parsley and 4 volunteer tomato plants that grew out of my compost that I'm trying to nurture for next summer.

True, fresh herbs are best, but if it is out of season or you don't grow them yourself to dry, buy them by bulk from a natural food store for 1) it is sooooooooooo much cheaper. 2) you can buy what you only need for it tends to lose potency. The general rule is ground or powered herbs/spices have a shelf life of about 6 months, and whole dried herbs at about a year. Keep it in a sealed glass container in a cool cupboard, away from light and heat. If it loses color, or smell, compost it.

A quick way to dry your herbs rather than hanging them upside down in a cool area is to arrange them on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven. If you have an oven light, that's all the heat you will need. If not, the lowest setting on your oven (usually "warm") will suffice, but maybe every now and then turn it off so it isn't too hot.

I recently dried a large bunch of rosemary from my Mom's garden and it made my apartment smell amazing, like it was suddenly Christmas in October!

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