National Herb Day

Happy Saturday ! And in honor of National Herb day we are celebrating all things Herb :

I always grow a big container of Herbs at my front door steps.

Herb Drying and Crafts;

How To Dry Fresh Herbs Using a Dehydrator  

  1. Preheat your dehydrator with the thermostat set between 95 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a particularly humid climate, you may want to set your temperature as high as 125 degrees. 
  2. If your herbs are damp, be sure to gently blot them dry with a towel to remove as much moisture as you can.  
  3. Place the herbs on the dehydrator trays in a single layer.   
  4. Small leaves can remain on the stems, but removing larger leaves from thick stems will shorten the drying time. 
  5. Drying times will vary depending on the moisture content of your herbs. Loose, fine herbs like yarrow and mint will dry more quickly than moisture-filled herbs like plantain or comfrey. Expect 1-4 hours for most herbs.  
  6. Check your herbs periodically for dryness. 
  7. If you are using a stacked dehydrator, place the harder-to-dry herbs on the bottom and the lighter herbs on the top. It will be easier to remove the faster-drying herbs if they are on top.  
  8. Be sure to keep track of which herbs are in each tray – it may be difficult to tell them apart when they are dried. 
  9. You can dry any combination of herbs at one time as the flavors will not blend

How to Preserve and Store Your Homegrown Herbs

Air Drying

Fresh herbs can transform mealtimes from the ordinary to the sublime! But while evergreen herbs such as rosemary may be picked throughout winter in many areas, others will need to be cut and stored before the end of the growing season if we’re to enjoy their flavors during the colder months. Read on to find out about some clever but simple ways to do just that.https://www.youtube.com/embed/XAUgDGZ_vyM

Microwave Drying

A speedier alternative to air drying is to use a microwave. This method is also useful in damp climates where air drying can prove difficult unless you have a dehydrator. Spread individual leaves out onto paper towel then cover with another layer of paper towel. Place into the microwave for one to three minutes, checking the leaves every 20 seconds and rearranging as necessary to ensure even drying. Allow to cool before storing. Herbs are dry when they are crunchy to the touch.

Storing Dried Herbs

Store dried leaves whole to retain their flavor. Place them into airtight jars, labelled with the name of the herb and the date. Store them in a cool, dry place where they should keep for up to a year.

Freezing Herbs

Fleshy herbs such as basil, parsley, dill and cilantro lend themselves to freezing. Blanch them in boiling water for a couple of seconds before plunging into a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the leaves from cooking further. Pat dry between dish towels then pack the vibrant-green leaves into labelled freezer bags.

Herb Butter

A variation on oil-herb mixtures is to make a herb butter. Leave a pat of butter at room temperature to soften up. Chop up your favorite leafy herbs – I love using tarragon! – then mash into the butter using the back of a fork. Pack the butter up into greaseproof paper and twist the ends closed. Herb butter can be kept in the fridge for two weeks or frozen for up to six months.

Parsley and Chive Butter Recipe :

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Allow the butter to soften.
  • Mix the parsley and chives together and then stir them into the softened butter.
  • Slowly add the lemon juice, stirring constantly.
  • Mix in sea salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Vinegars and Oils

Herbs in oils and butters can exclude oxygen, which can increase the risk of botulism disease. To avoid this, be sure to refrigerate them and use within two weeks, unless you’re freezing them. An alternative is to lower the pH to below 4.6 by soaking finely shredded herbs in vinegar, then mixing in the oil to make salad dressings, which will last longer.

These ideas offer just a flavor of what you can do to lock in summer freshness to enjoy year round. Of course, there are lots of other methods such as blanching, preserving in sugar, and even herbal wines. If you’ve got a favorite method for storing herbs please share it in the comments section below.

Rosemary Lavender Soap Recipe :

  • 1/2 lb.  goat milk soap base
  • 2 tablespoons  dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons  dried lavender
  • 10 drops  rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops  lavender essential oil
  • Soap dye (optional
  • Soap mold
  • Spritz bottle filled with rubbing alcohol

Start by Chopping herbs into small pieces. Spray bottom of soap mold with rubbing alcohol . And then sprinkle some herbs into your soap molds. This will be the top of the Soap.

Then break up your soap base in small pieces and place in a large Pyrex measuring cup. Melt in the microwave slowly – about 30 seconds at a time. After melting (will be Hot) Take out and let Cool a little. Add in the essential oils ( all or just a little) . And dye (if using) and then stir in some dried herbs. Stir with a wooden chop stick.

Pour into prepared Soap molds and let dry at least an hour but may take longer. Then pop out of mold and wrap your soap.

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