Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

My Kitchen tip this week is drying herbs.
First, I have to say, that I took this picture just so I could say....
"If I could save Thyme in a bottle".....Sorry. LOL I could not help myself!

In that picture you can also see the dill seed that I have saved. And the tomatoes are still comin'. You can see that they are not as high quality, but after 4 or 5 really HUGE pickins', it's a big blessing that they are even still producing!

I have to admit that I am brand new to herb drying. So if anyone sees any glaring mistakes, please correct me.
To dry herbs, tie them up in small bundles like this picture.
I have here 3 bundles of parsley, 3 bundles of thyme, & 2 bundles of basil.

Next, take small brown paper bags & 3-hole punch them for air holes. Be sure to write on the bag which bundle you will put in it. Place one bundle in each bag & tie it closed. Now you can hang them up to dry.
Some other herbs I did not put in bags because the bundles were BIG.
That would be for the dill & the corriander. I did tie them in bundles & let them dry on a sheet on a table. I have already picked all of the dill seed, & it filled a half pint jar (1st picture next to the thyme in the bottle *snicker*). Hey, a half pint of dill seed is a bunch! It took me what seemed like forever to pick them all!
And here are the corriander seeds, mostly still in the bundles.

Those seeds are tiny. I really hope to get them done by the end of this week. I have a pint jar already more than half full.

The herbs I bagged above are still not dry, as I only bagged them a couple weeks ago.
I did some sage, peppermint, & spearmint more than a month ago so I checked them a few minutes ago to see if they're ready. You really can't tell by this picture, but they seem to be completely dry.

Here is one bundle of sage & one bundle of peppermint:

I picked the sage leaves off the stem & put them in a jar. I read somewhere that you should leave the leaves intact instead of crumbling them to put in the jar. They retain their flavor longer if you put them in your jar as whole leaves. Then you can crumble them when you are ready to put them into your cooking.
I will probably leave the lid off this jar for a while, just to make sure they really are completely dry. If you put a lid on & there is still moisture, they will mold.
I bet some of the sage from this jar of dried sage leaves will be used in dressing on Thanksgiving!

I put the peppermint back into its bag, because I have to find some more jars.
I think I may have a half pint jar in the dishwasher, because we finished off another jar of green pepper jelly today. LOL But frankly, we've never been this low on jars! I think I've canned more this year than ever.
I think half pints might be best for the seeds we've harvested, but the dried herbs may be better housed in pint jars. That jar with the sage is a half pint, & one bundle filled it. I think I have 4 more bundles of sage drying in bags, so I'm gonna need a bigger jar. ("We're gonna need a bigger boat.")

Also, a note on the basil. I'm not sure how well it dries, because when I see it mentioned online, mostly people put it in the food processor with olive oil, & then freeze it in ice cube trays to store in the freezer. I may try that, but I was assuming that is to use to make pesto. I've only had pesto once in my life. It was the nastiest stuff I think I've ever tasted! It was years ago at a restaurant, on a mushroom sandwich. I do love basil on my tomatoes, so I'm wondering if maybe that day their pesto happened to be bad? Maybe I do like it but don't know it because of that experience? Maybe I'll try it again sometime. But for now, I'm drying mine.

To see more Kitchen Tips Tuesdays please visit Tammy's site.
And now, I'm off to find a certain song to put on my playlist. It's just perfect for this post!
ROTFLOL! Turn your volume up so you can hear it!
(P.S. I have since removed the Time in a bottle song..lol )


mub said...

Haha, the "If I could save Thyme in a bottle" had me roaring with laughter! That sounds just like something I would do.

Thanks for the tip about the paper bags! I didn't know that and the dill I dried recently turned out a bit strange... maybe it had too much light?

I have a good pesto recipe on my blog... The red one is really good, and the green one is good, but a lot less of a pesto texture. I have tried some jarred pestos and I just find them to be ick ick ick... so you might have more success making it yourself =)

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

Thanks for the basil tip. I have a lot that I need to try. Keep me posted and I think I will try that too. Also, love your song list!

Lori said...

What a wonderful, informative, fragrant, musical post!

The Gluten-Free Homemaker said...

Thanks for the info. I have some mint and basil that needs to be dried. I haven't tried it myself yet, but I did get some dried basil from a friend once that was great.

Exactly how and where do you hang those bags?

Jane said...

Hi Mub, I didn't dry my dill in the bags because I just had too much of it. I dried it on a sheet on a table. Most of my seeds were a nice tan & brown color, but I did have some that were a weird green color. I just threw those away because I just wasn't sure about them. I didn't want a few to spoil the whole jar or something.

Thanks extraordinary ordinary life!

LOL Lori!

gluten free homemaker, I hang mine about 3 or 4 bags together. I just tie garden sting (or kite string) aroung the gathered ends of the bag. I just hung them in our least often use room by some nails that were already in the wall from hanging pictures. But it took me a while to do that. I couldn't think of where to put them. I can't really have them hanging all over the kitchen. Can't hang them out in the garage where bugs or goodness forbid, mice might get at them. So I just hung them on the walls. LOL