dry your own herbs, you will always have a fresh, inexpensive supply
at hand for making delicious foods. For people on salt-free diets,
enhance the flavor of otherwise bland foods and do not add calories to
foods. If you want to cut down on salt or calories, you can use herbs
spices to give zest to familiar, low-calorie or low-salt foods. For
a pinch of rosemary dropped into the water that potatoes or rice are
in will give a delightful taste to these vegetables.
can grow in your
garden or in the pot a wide variety of herbs. If you plant your herb
near the kitchen, you can enjoy the plants and harvest the leaves
as they reach the peak of quality. Some that are especially popular are
basil, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, mint, sage, sweet
marjoram, savory, oregano, chervil, chives, and dill.
best time to
harvest herbs is mid-morning on a dry, sunny day after the dew has
preferably on the same day you want to use them. It is good to harvest
young tender leaves, because they are more flavorful and aromatic than
older leaves. Remove any dead or discolored leaves, rinse with cold
to wash off dust and dirt and drain
well on paper towels. For optimum flavor, pick before flower buds form.
Handle gently to prevent bruising.
herbs with long
stems the best method is to cut the stalks, tie them together in small
bunches and hang upside down in a warm, dry, airy place, but not in the
sun. Allow 5 to 10 days to dry.
good idea to
tie a large brown paper bag around the bunch to protect the herbs from
the light. Be sure the leaves do not touch the sides o the bag,
they may stick to the bag and not dry properly. Make several holes in
bag for ventilation. Hang it in a warm, dry, airy room or attic. Herbs
will dry in about 1 to 2 weeks.
stems and seeds could be dry on trays or cookie sheets. Spread seeds or
leaves in a single layer on a tray or cookie sheet. Dry in a warm, airy
place 4 to 6 days or dry in your oven on temperature of 140° F for
about 1 to 4 hours. Turn or stir the leaves occasionally to assure even
To release the full flavor from the dried herbs crush the lives into
fine bits before adding to food. You can crush the leaves by rubbing
them between your palms or by grinding them with a mortar and pestle.
Use 1/4 as much dried herbs as you would fresh. Never use old herbs. If
you aren't sure an herb is fresh, rub a bit of it between your palms
and breathe in the aroma. If there is little or no aroma, replace the
herb with a fresh supply.
|Did You Know?
can also be dried in a microwave because the leaves contain little
moisture and dry rapidly. Place a single layer of herb leaves between
double thicknesses of paper towels. Dry them for 1 to 2 minutes on a
medium to high setting in the microwave, depending on the thickness of
the leaves. Flip over and repeat for 1 more minute. Cool and test for
brittleness. When the herb leaves crumble in your hands, they are done.
If leaves are not dry, microwave them for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
You should store dry herbs in small air tight containers away from the
If stored in a cool, dry, dark place, whole dried herbs retain their
flavor and aroma up to one year.
Never sun dry herbs because sunlight destroys their natural aroma. It
is important to know that whole herbs keep their flavor longer than
crushed or ground herbs.
Herbs that retain their flavor when dried include dill, marjoram, mint,
oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, taragon, thyme.