The Whirly Girl

Archive for November 2009

We have quite a collection of dried flowers scattered about the house, ranging from my wedding bouquet to hydrangeas cut from our plant in the front/only flowerbed.  This theme of decor comes from that fact that Scott used to work part-time at a friend’s flower shop and the fact that we usually let fresh flower arrangments sit until they are either gross or nicely dried, then toss the gross and keep the other.  I’ve recently moved this slight compulsion over to our herb plants.

Though winter is still quite a ways away from our central TX town, I’ve been thinking about how to not let all our herbs (sage, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, mint, and spearmint) whither and go to waste when it finally does get cold.  Therefore, my new hobby is drying herbs.  This is how, or at least how I, do it:  

1) Pick long stems from herb plants.

2) Rinse with running water, spin in salad spinner, then lay on a towel to dry completely.

3) Gather together small bunch of stems, 4-6ish depending on size, and tie at  bottom with twine.

4) Put stem-up in brown paper lunch sack, leaving tails of twine sticking out of the top, then sides of sack together with stem in the middle (keeping leaves covered helps preserve the color, or so I read somewhere).  If you can hang herbs in a space that is consistently dark, you can skip the paper sack step.

5) Using the twine tails, tie the sacks somewhere to hang 2 weeks for herbs with small or medium-sized leaves and 3 for herbs with large leaves (like sage).

6) When dry, pull leaves off stem and store in glass jar.  Be on the look out for mold, which will grow if there is any moisture left in leaves.

I put up a drying line in our office because it’s the most ventilated/most drafty room in the house.  So far I’ve had success with mint and spearmint, sage, and oregano.  The mint leaves make very good tea: cram a tea ball with them and steep for about 10 minutes for fullest flavor.