Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fast & effortless herb & spice drying

Topped the basil so it didn't go to flower.
Thanks to a basil conversation I had with a friend today, it reminded me to tend it.

It's such a needy herb. I've been known to let it go to flower and lose it.

Two days just laying on the counter, then into a brown paper bag for two weeks. It's my favorite quick and easy spice-drying method. Then I just shove it, whole, into canning jars and grab a wad when I need it in a recipe.
I mark the bags because sometimes I have 10 bags of herbs drying at the same time. Plus I can reuse the bags for the same her next time. 
The bag also catches all the little pieces that falloff so they get used also. There's no waste this way. 
I use the stems in the vita mix for dressings and such, and sometimes I muddle them down and use them in the food if they're not too prickly.  They have lots of flavor. 
My son is in culinary arts and he uses the stems in his spice bags for soups and stews. 

I use a muddler to get the most flavor and aroma from my herbs when using them, every time I use a spice. It's always sitting right in the counter. I use it daily!  They have them at TJ Maxx and Ross quite often for 5-6 bucks. 

Just make sure your herbs are completely dry before jarring. And if you don't have counter space, any area to let it initially wilt is fine...using newspaper under it helps a lot too.  Keeps it easier to clean up, but if you don't have any handy, ya don't need it.

My herb garden looks like a jungle right now. I have some cutting to do. I will continue to harvest until October. 

The purslane keeps coming up through my pathway stones. That's what happens when your yard is totally organic. But you learn a lot about weeds and how beautiful some become if you let them grow.