Growing Organic Vegetables – My Herbs Are Ready to Harvest – What Next?
You might have just begun to start growing organic vegetables and herbs or you could possibly be an experienced grower already. There exists one question that seems to appear time and time again.
What do I do with all those herbs?
In the next few paragraphs I will cover some helpful tips for your organically grown herbs.
Most people will use their herbs in a dry form. Always try to harvest your herbs as early as possible in the day. You simply need to use a sharp knife or a pair of garden scissors to harvest your herbs and make sure that the stems are quite long.
1: Cleaning Your Herbs
Wash the herbs, but remember they are herbs and not some steel fork. So be gentle with them and once washed put them on a piece of kitchen towel or a clean cloth. The herbs really need to dry out once washed so the towel needs to be absorbent so that all the water can drain from your herbs.
2: Drying Your Herbs
Once all the surplus water has been removed you then want to tie them together in bundles with a bit of string. Then hang the small bundles up in an area out of the way but if possible moisture free. I find that the airing cupboard can be a good spot as its always slightly warm and of course dry. Should you be hanging them near a window which has direct sunlight this will also be a great place. Just remember however, that the sunlight will take some of the natural colour from your herbs.
3: Making Your Herbs Ready For Use
Get yourself some glass or stone jars and once the herbs are completely dried out it is easy to crush them into the jars. I prefer to not use plastic as I always feel this effects the flavor of the herbs. Your herbs once dried will last for at least nine to twelve months.
4: Freezing Your Herbs
As an alternative you can also freeze your herbs. To do this simply harvest and wash as above but when drying you should make 100 percent certain there is no excess moisture. So keep turning them on the paper towel until completely dry. This is very important for the freezing process.
To get the best flavor from the herbs when frozen keep the flowers and leaves on the stems. Once they are dry it is easy to put them into freezer bags and place them into the freezer. One point to note here is to put a label or mark the freezer bag with the date. Herbs which have been frozen would be best used within six months of freezing them as this is when they have their best flavor.
To use the frozen herbs from the freezer just flake off the herbs between thumb and forefinger after which return all the unused herbs to the freezer.