This past summer, I decided to try to disconnect from the electronic world we live in and reconnect with the natural world around me. I spent as much time as I could outdoors, took trips to the beach with my Huskies, and planted a small herb garden that was very successful.
Now that Fall is upon us, the remaining herbs need to be pruned and harvested before the first frost.
Some varieties of herbs, the perennials, can survive the cold New York winter but most will not. I love to have fresh herbs on hand year round and find that most herbs do well indoors if placed in a sunny southern location.
The best time to harvest your herbs is in the late morning after the dew has evaporated.
Start by digging up a few of each of the herb/plants along with their root system so you can transfer them to a smaller pot or tray for their stay indoors during the winter. Whatever plants you have left by next spring, you can replant outdoors. Cut back the remaining plants using small pruning shears or a kitchen scissor. Spilt the harvested herbs in half. Then dry 1/2 and freeze the other 1/2 in ice cube trays for use in your favorite recipes during the winter months.
Two easy methods for storing your herbs;
1- Drying the herbs.
2- Freezing the herbs in ice cube trays with a little water.
-Harvest the herbs and wash with cold water , removing any dirt.
-Dry the leaves with a paper towel making sure to remove any excess moisture and dirt that remains.
-Remove any bruised leaves and stems.
-Create small bundles.
-Suspend the herbs in a paper bag, stem side up, then tie the top of the bag with twine .
-Punch air holes in the bag so air can circulate within the bag. (Don’t hang your herbs in a humid location.) The bag helps keep dust off the herbs during the drying process.
-Hang the the bag on the handle of your kitchen cabinets. Depending on the hardware on your cabinets you can either use a string to hang them, or untwist a paper clip to create an S shape, creating a small hook.
-After the herbs are completely dried, place in a airtight jar. Don’t forget to label the jar so you can easily identify what herb is in it. Include the date on label so you know how long you have them.
Dried herbs are about three times stronger than fresh herbs. So make sure you adjust your recipes accordingly.
-Harvest the herbs
-Wash them with cold water
-Dry with a paper towel to remove all excess dirt
-Take an empty ice tray
-Remove leaves from the stem
-Place the leaves from the herbs in different size measurements ( for example; one cube will have a tablespoon of oregano, and one will have a teaspoon , for easy use in your winter recipes). Then cover the herbs with enough water to cover the leaves.
Note: For herbs that have large leaves, such as basil, you will need to chop them up so they can fit into the ice cube tray.