Harvesting and Making :: creative ways to utilize your herbs

in #herbalism5 months ago

During long walks around neighborhoods and gazing into front yards I have noticed something – a lot of people are growing herbs. Rosemary, Oregano and Lavender are all common plants in this dry climate and all are flourishing during summer but, I am not so sure how often people are actually using the herbs they grow. So, here are some of my recipes for common garden plants that might be growing in your yard of a garden near you.

me harvesting

Herby Pesto

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Oregano, mint, rosemary, shiso, and of course basil are all leafy herbs that go into my pesto recipe. Month by month the available herbs in the garden will shift and with it does this pesto recipe but here is my general guide:]'

herby pesto

-1/2 cup roasted nuts like pine nuts, walnut, cashew, peanuts, or hazelnuts
-2 cups fresh mixed herbs (leaves only) rosemary, oregano & sage
-1 cup of softer herbs like basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, or shiso
1/2 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil -3 garlic cloves (optional)

You can either finely chop the ingredients by hand or use a food processor. By hand takes a lot longer but works well for camping trips or if electricity isnt available. The food processor is great too but remember to add ingredients slowly to avoid straining the machine’s motor. This pesto keeps well in a fridge for weeks and a freezer for months.

Dried Seasoning

dried oregano

Warm summer days are ideal for drying herbs. You could even dry them outdoors in a shady & dry place if there isn't too much wind. At the moment I have access to a oven so I place recently collected herbs on a cookie sheet & into a warm oven. The pilot light along will slightly warm the plant material and in an hour or two the oregano, rosemary or sage are dry. Then I separate the leaves from the rest of the stems and branches, discard those and get to work on the dried leaves. You can use your clean hands, kitchen scissors and/or a mortal & pestle to further pulverize the herbs. If the leaves don’t crumble easily they probably need more time drying.

Cooling Flavored Waters

Sun Tea

June is the month, days of 100 degree weather is pretty much normal and cold non-alcoholic drinks are necessary to thrive in this heat. I love to make cold teas & sun teas with berries and herbs collected from the garden. My favorite lately are blueberries & mint as well as stevia leaf & lemon verbena. Happy Gardening!!

-- this was originally posted on my blog where you can find many more articles on herbalism, tarot & crafting :: floralibra.art.blog --

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I had read it was better to store herbs in as close to their whole state (meaning whole leaves) as possible. This reduces the oxidation that destroys the nutrients. Then pulverize at time of use.

I sort of compromise on this because of limited storage space. I leave the parts whole, but they are packed into the jars. Then the jar is vacuum sealed. I have to use a dehydrator here as during summer the humidity is in the 80's and 90's percent. The dried material is immediately put into jars from the still warm dehydrator and sealed, thereby retaining the 5% dryness level. Anything higher could mold or raise botulism in a sealed jar.

I am often envious of those who can dry and store herbs without the technology I have to use.

You are totally correct! I should have clarified - I recommend breaking down the herbs so that they are easy to use for cooking, most herbs I store in their whole state in my apothecary - definitely a good theme for an upcoming post!

And wow you have a lot of processes to keep your herbs good but, i am sure it is worth the work! When I am at my parent's place in California, the climate is so dry that none of that is necessary. But now back in Argentina I have noticed that many herbs i stored in paper bags are getting moldy - time to rethink my storing situation!

Best of luck & happy gardening!

Yes, that is exactly what I would run into here, molding in storage, irregardless of how they are stored, unless bone dry and vacuum sealed.