Greetings Friends! Here in the dry Texas Hill Country with its poor rocky soil and abundance of deer who devour plants that are supposedly deer resistant, herbs have become the foundation of my garden. I can't get enough of these hardy, drought tolerant, mostly deer resistant wonders! With their wealth of culinary, nutritional and healing benefits I consider them the gardener's best value.
This is the time of year I start drying my herbs. I usually begin with Basil; it isn't quite as tolerant of our scorching August sun. Also I have found that if I cut it back now, enough will usually grow back for another harvest before the first frost. Basil is considered a tender herb and is not cold hardy. Pictured are my first cuttings. Before cutting, I water liberally, rinsing the leaves carefully.
As I cut and gather, I shake off excess water and separate into piles of similar lengths, allowing them to air dry. Then I use twine to tie them into small bundles. Be sure to tie tightly around the end stems and leave some excess for hanging.
In the Fall, it isn't unusual to see herbs hanging from any available space in my kitchen! This nifty hanging rack is perfect for herb drying and only cost .50 at a yard sale. Once herbs are dried and crumble easily, remove them from stems and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Between my frequent personal use and Etsy sales, I go through mine pretty quickly, but consider storing yours in the freezer if used less frequently.
Do you have an alternative way for preserving your herbs? Which are your favorites?