Saturday, October 19, 2013

Drying Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme (and Basil and Dill)

Brandon pointed out that the thermometer by the front door was right on target today since the red line was in the "Wear a hat and jacket - it's Chilly ToDay.  Be active in Play."  No kidding.  We were all shivering in the unheated house even while the sun was still shining.  A perfect day for a project that lets me wear a jacket outside and linger in the garden.  I decided to finally take down the herbs I hung to dry in July, and dry some more before the frost gets them.    

I hardly had any sprigs of sage left on my two plants, and normally I would worry about taking the last green leaves, but since this may be the last time I get to harvest these plants anyway, I decided to take as much as I could.  When I brought the bundle of fresh cut sage in the house I waved it in front of Brandon's nose and asked him to identify the smell.  This is a game I've played with him for years now, and he rarely guesses correctly.  I'm pretty sure he only knows the names of the herbs from the Simon and Garfunkel song, and half the time he even forgets those.  Today he said "that's the one that goes on chicken?" which I consider progress.  Another fifteen years of the guess this plant game and he might stop accidentally mowing them down! 

This small bundle is the entire rosemary plant that I started inside from seed last winter.  Since rosemary doesn't like our winters I've stopped trying to baby it through, and for the last two summers have just harvested the entire plant at the end of the summer, and start a new on from seed for the next year.  It's enough rosemary to last through the winter, so I like this system pretty well.  

Helen and Mrs. Hall thought I was crazy for harvesting the herbs.  The kept giving me confused looks and wishing I would move to something more tasty.  They aren't fans of herbs, which is great because it means I have at least a few plants that I don't have to protect from them. This morning I noticed that Mrs. Hall, shown in the back of the photo above, does not have a tail today.  It's time for the fall molt, poor things.  Even though Helen was flaunting her tail in Mrs. Hall's face, I could see that it's a bit raggedy, and it won't be long until I have some very unfortunate looking chickens.   

Thyme and oregano.  I hope to transplant these to the garden at the farm.

Picking basil is the most wonderful scent experience in the garden.  Flowers got nothing on basil when it comes to smell.  I also captured my tail-less chicken in the photo above too.  She's almost round!

Bringing all the different smells into the house is wonderful too.  The only drawback is that it caused me to crave pasta.  I'm must associate the herbs, especially the oregano, with pasta dishes since I tend to add a dash of everything to my sauce.  

The dill was all dried up, but the flower heads were still covered in seeds.  I don't know if I could use these in cooking, but I thought I might be able to start plants next spring, so I collected dill seeds too.  

I crushed up the dried up oregano flowers, and I think there are teeny tiny seeds mixed in with the flower parts, but I have no idea how to separate them.  I'll just put it all on some dirt and see if anything sprouts.  

Once I picked some bundles of everything, I rigged up a wire to hang them on in Brandon's studio, which I'm sure he will appreciate.  Hopefully the nice aroma will compensate for having to duck under my weeds.  If not, at least it will be good encouragement for him to help me build a drying rack somewhere more convenient.  

In an attempt to keep dust from settling on them while they dry, especially since I tend to leave them hanging way too long out of shear laziness, I covered hem with a sheet of newsprint.  Hopefully they will get enough air circulation to dry well.   

I picked all the leaves off the herbs I hung in July.  I tasted them, and they still have flavor, so maybe I didn't ruin them through neglecting to take them down and putting them in an air tight container as soon as they were dry.  

I now have jars and bags of herbs for cooking, and more bags of seeds for starting next year's garden.  The best thing about seed saving is that it stretches out the gardening season.  Even though I can't plant until next spring, I'm still collecting seeds and starting to plan for starting them indoors and in the green house in February.  That's only a few short months!  

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...