As summer fades and the crispness of fall fills the air, my family and I get ready to tuck our gardens in for a long winter’s nap.
It is an exciting time for sure. It becomes a family affair, with our boy and his cousin helping to get the soil turned and the beds ready for the next year’s planting. There is always raking, lots of tilling, and piles and piles of compost.
It is a bittersweet time though, for with the preparations for the next year comes the harvesting of the remainder of our vegetables, herbs and fruits.You see, we are not ones for canning, other than the occasional batch of pickles. So what we grow in the summer is either eaten fresh, given away or frozen.
Another method of preserving our crop is drying.
Our herbs of choice are the ones that we eat the most of. We enjoy thyme, sage, rosemary, basil, and oregano the most. In addition to the crop that grows in our garden beds, we have a smaller box on our deck that we trim from through the summer to add to our summer meals.
Below you will find instructions on drying and preserving your own herbs for use during the colder months.
First, remove the leaves of the herbs from the stems and rinse leaves in clean water to remove any dirt or insects.
Gather and pile up the herbs on a clean cloth or towel.
Leave the herbs outside on a very hot day in the bright sun. Be sure that they are protected from the wind, so that the herbs don’t blow away as they dry. If the herbs are not completely dry by the end of the day, simply bring them inside overnight and then put them back outside for another day of sunbathing.
You will know that the herbs are completely dry when they curl up on their edges and become a little bit less vibrant in color.
Gather up all of the herbs in a food processor and pulse until the leaves break down into a lightly coarse mixture. The rosemary is the toughest to break down and sometimes I do this in a separate batch to avoid overpulsing the other herbs.
An alternative to letting the herbs dry on a towel is to gather them into little bundles and hang them in a dry place until the leaves fall from the stems on their own and then using the food processor to break the herbs down further.
Either way, you will be left with a deliciously fragrant herb mixture that is perfect for using all winter and fall long to season your stews, soups, sauces, and meats.
Julia Daby is a Registered Nurse who lives happily with her husband and little boy in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. She enjoys crafts of all kinds, eating good food, reading, and being outdoors. Most important of all….she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She has a small store on etsy where she and her twin share sewing and fiber tutorials to inspire creativity in other Mamas. She writes about life, family and creativity at Happiness Comes and We Deserve This.