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August 19, 2011

Now’s a Good Time to Gather Herbs to Dry

by Val Reynolds
Marigold petals, make a delicious tea

Marigold petals, make a delicious tea

Wandering round the garden today I picked several bunches of herbs to dry for use during the winter months.

I tie the stalks together and place upside down in a paper bag, tieing the top loosely, but with a loop for hanging. They are then hung up on nails in the garage where they will stay for a few weeks until they are quite dry, then crumbled and placed in an air tight jar. We quite like the aroma that comes from the dried stalks and put them on the top of the wood burning stove to lightly scent the room. They can burn so put them on a pyrex dish or similar. Or you could keep them for the next barbecue …

Marjoram can be used for teas as can marigold petals which can relieve stomach aches

There’s nothing nicer than tea made from your own mint. We have a particularly strong one that makes excellent tea. It’s useful too for lamb, as is rosemary.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Sage is a bit strong for tea, but good to help digest fatty meat like pork and goose. Bay leaves are always useful to add to a bouquet garni.

Sage

Sage

We grew tarragon this year as an experiment but we haven’t used it at all so it will go into the compost bins later next month.

My all time favourite is verveine, it smells just like sherbert lemons and always makes my mouth water at its memory. A tea made with it is absolutely delicious, needs just a little sweetening, and is an excellent drink before bedtime as it does seem to induce sleep.

Verveine

Verveine

Fennel

Fennel

There are still some Nigella seeds to ripen so we picked them all and put them in a carrier bag hung from the garage beams. They will shake out in a week or so. We use them in meat dishes and sometimes in cakes.

Fennel seeds can be used to make tea, although we prefer to eat them when they are plump and green which is about now.

There is still enough time to cut some bunches of lavender to add to our clothes cupboards and we will keep some seeds for flavouring our favourite shortbread. Alys Fowler has a great recipe in her book The Edible Garden. Now there’s a gardener I admire.

Do you dry herbs? Why not let us know and we’ll write about it in the mag.

Charlotte Yardley
Gardening Adviser


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