Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > October 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - DRYING HERBS FOR WINTER USE

IN THE DIRT with DOUG - DRYING HERBS FOR WINTER USE

It’s now late October.  We have yet to experience a killing frost.  But, it will be coming soon.   If you are like me, basil and other herbs are still growing and producing.  But, we know it is just a matter of time before these tasty plants will die with the cold.  We have been tending to our herbs all summer and fall and been enjoying the bounty.  Now it’s time to start planning for winter by drying them to enjoy even longer. 
                To get the best flavor from dried herbs, it’s important to pick the leaves for drying at the correct point in the growing season.  When to harvest is always key to being successful and happy with the dried herbs.  With most herbs you want to harvest before they flower, such as lavender and tarragon.  Basil and sage could be picked and harvested now.  Keep in mind that many of our herbs, such as basil, mint, parsley, and oregano grow back quickly and benefit from the constant pruning.
                In preparing your herbs for drying be sure that the leaves are clean of any dust, dirt, or insect.   Hang small bunches of them upside down in a dry, cool, place such as closet or unused bedroom.  Once the herbs are dry, their flavor is best preserved by keeping them in an airtight jar or bag.  Dried herbs should be used within a year.
                SIDENOTE:  This is not about drying herbs but it is about using herbs this time of year.  I love pesto.  Now is a great time to pick your basil and make pesto.  I like to freeze pesto for future use.  You can take prepared pesto and pour into ice cube trays.  Once frozen you can transfer into plastic bags to store in the freezer.
                                                                HAPPY GARDENING!
Posted: 10/26/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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