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How to Harvest Herbs From The Garden to Last All Winter Long.
Harvesting, Drying and Freezing, Basil, Chives and Oregano
Preparing Herbs for Wintertime.
For The Love of Herb...
Herbs can make the difference between a good flavored recipe and a great flavored one. The beauty of using herbs in a recipe is not only the color, but the aroma that blossoms forth as the natural oils from the herbs are released into the cooking process.
Anyone can grow Herbs. Even City Dwellers can grow Herbs, in pots. They only require some water when the soil is dry or the leaves droop. You don't need to feed herbs, unless you think they need some food. Usually if you keep your herbs outdoors for the season, they will keep growing after you trim them down. I'm on my second time, trimming and processing for the winter. I know that I will have one more spurt of growth before the frost.
To Hang or Not to Hang...
I don't have much room to hang my herbs up to dry. So, I either lay them out on paper towels, a clean, dry kitchen towel, or I bundle them and place in a nice vase.
When my sister was up from Florida this past July, I had a nice bunch of oregano ready to be rubbed off their stems. This is an easy task. The leaves just roll off between the palms of your hands or fingers. She went off to Florida with a full jar of my dried oregano.
The first time that I dried oregano, I noticed, when I put a few teaspoons into my tomato sauce, that the oregano was a bright green color! I never noticed that when I used store bought oregano.
Sweet, Tiny, Slivers of Chives...
Chives make a great substitute for onions. Especially if you run out of onions during the winter time. Of course, chives are sweeter than onions, however, it doesn't really make any difference.
Chives are a perennial plant. That means that they will come back, year after year. What a bargain! A plant that just keeps on giving.
I used to put the chives in snack sized bags. Now I put them into quart sized freezer bags and just pull apart the desired amount that I might need for morning eggs, stews, soups, etc.
The Basil in My Tomato Basil Sauce...
Basil DOES NOT FREEZE WELL. Don't even try it. It will turn black and you will only end up throwing it all away.
So, the only option we have is to dry it. As I mentioned before, I don't have anywhere to hang my herbs. I don't bundle basil, although, maybe you might want to. I take the time and pull the leaves away from the stem and lay them flat until they are good and dry. Don't store the Basil in a zip lock bag... just in case some crawly creatures are visiting you. I would go for clean, glass or plastic jars.
Basil is NOT a perennial. So If you like Basil, you will have to plant some, every year.
Ah! Oregano... My Prince of The Herb Kingdom.
As much as I love Oregano, (My Prince.) He is a sneaky Herb. Along with his neighbor, in my garden, Parsley. These two guys are equally sneaky. What I mean by that is Oregano and Parsley like to hang on to their dirt. You can soak, drain and rinse once, however, you will end up with grit between your teeth. Take the time and soak, drain and rinse, at least three times.
Herbs save, money, time and energy.
In one Hour, I was able to Cut, Wash, and prep all the above mentioned herbs. One Hour! I don't have to think about going out to the store, come winter time for any of these herbs. I do, however, try to use up all the herbs that I process before the following season arrives. I do not like old freezer things. So If I don't rotate, I give things away. Just to keep things moving along.
Until We Meet Again... Francesca27
How to Freeze and Dry Herbs.
- Fresh Basil, Leaves Removed From Stems
- Fresh Chives, Cut
- Fresh Oregano, Washed and Bundled
- Gather Your Fresh Herbs from Your Garden, such as Basil, Chives and Oregano.
- Separate Herbs, Wash and Work on One Herb at a time.
- Basil. Wash and separate the leaves from the stems. Place the Basil Leaves on a clean Kitchen Towel and Dry for 4-6 weeks. You can store the dried Basil Leaves in a Clean and Dry Jar. Either cut up or keep the leaves whole. Basil DOES NOT freeze well.
- Chives. Wash and blot off as much water as you can and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Place in a Freezer Bag and Store in your freezer. You can break off any desired amount to use in egg dishes, stews, etc.
- Oregano. Oregano is a sneaky herb. Be sure to soak and rinse at least 3 times. You can Hang Oregano upside down or place bundles into a vase. Great in tomato sauce, eggs, stews, etc.
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