Herbs in the ‘burbs

August 15th, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

I smell of some sweet and some sharp herb leaves. My hands bring to mind Shannon Curfman’s mildly suggestive lyricsI smell you on my fingertips. I can taste you on my lips.

My new perennial herb garden has been overflowing green and figuratively begging for harvest. I’ve cooked with my annual and perennial herbs all season. Today, I clipped two bunches of three of my eight herbal citizens — one trio as offerings to tonight’s dinner hosts and one to dry in the garage before being sealed for fall and winter use.

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My heavily scented greens may not be as showy as floral offerings, but the friends we’ll visit are foodies and I suspect will share my sensual joy here.

This harvest is, clockwise from 9, lemon balm, oregano and sage.

The drying process is easy enough, much easier than setting fruits or vegetables by. It means:

  1. Cutting a fist full of herbs at the lowest leaves
  2. Those leaves are generally discolored and have lost flavor, so picking them off provides a good stem section for the next step
  3. Tying the bunch with string (rubber bands would tend to loosen more and perhaps drop stems)
  4. If you doubt your memory or nose, labeling each bunch with a tape or tag on each string bearing the name
  5. Hanging them to dry out of weather
  6. Later, packaging in jars or plastic bags you can seal (zipper ones are most practical for access)

Short of the oregano and thyme, the dried herbs will not have as full a flavor, but pretty close if consumed in the coming months. I find fresher dried herbs plenty rich to the nose and mouth though. The emotional factor of knowing that they’re mine surely comes into play.

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