Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Drying herbs

Remember this?

The Little Guy and I had planted an herb garden in February, and by June, everything was out of control.  I demolished the basil to make pesto, which left only thyme and oregano for drying.

Look at this thyme! It's crazy! Crazy thyme!

I snipped the thyme and oregano stalks off at the base and simply placed them on paper towels and left them in a cool, dry place for a few weeks to dry out.  This might not be the preferred way to do it, and I'll show you why in a minute, but that's just how I roll here. 

Also how I roll: I left these alone and then actually forgot about them.  It was such a pleasant surprise to find them every few days: "Hey! What's that?  Oh yeah, those are the herbs I'm drying. I should do something with that."

The thyme was a big, tangled clump when I cut it, and I didn't take the time to untangle it before it dried out. As a result, I had a huge clump of dried tangled thyme on my hands, which made leaf extraction very difficult. 

I ended up just wringing the whole clump in my hands over a sheet of wax paper, hoping that I would only get the leaves.  As people with more sense know, thyme stalks are quite thin, and in the wringing process I also got a lot of stems in there along with the leaves. 

It took a few minutes of extra work, but I did get most of the stems out. This thyme will be stored in an airtight jar and saved for future use. If it's not all used up in the next few months, then it will be at Thanksgiving when I pile it all on the turkey.

The oregano was much easier to process, perhaps because the stems are quite substantial and not as prone to breakage.  I simply separated the stems from their drying-process-clump, and ran my fingers over the stems to break off the dried leaves.

These, too, will go into an airtight jar for future use.  I foresee lots of it going to pizza dip

Now that I'm all out of live herbs, I'm staring a whole new round of herb growing in the kitchen.  And because my need for pesto has grown, I'm planting some basil out in the garden as well.  How Martha is that?

1 comment:

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

Cool! I read in Organic Gardening that you can also dry herbs in the microwave pretty easily... might be worth trying!