Monday, September 9, 2013


Before I start, you should know that not all herbs can be eaten.  Some like Southernwood, costmary, and more are used for skin products.  They can make you sick if you eat them.  Also in answering your questions, I go by the way my Mother did, my Grandmother did and my Great-Grandmother did.  I am sure that there may be more modern ways in some cases.  Saying this, I believe that some herbs should be dried by hanging them and others by laying them out on screens and turning them a few times a week.

That being said to answer one of the questions asked, I would lay out the roses and thyme on sheets, (you can use trays) to dry. Before I laid them out, I would chop them first and then lay them on sheets.  I would put the roses on one sheet and the thyme another.  After that I would turn them a few times a week. Once they are dry, I would put them in glass jars, label them and store them in a cupboard where they are away from light.  The herbs should last of a year or so.

If I have herbs that are hung to try, I wrap them around the end with a rubber band and hang them, right now in the attic where it is dark , warm, dust free and ventilated.  I put a separate bunch for each group-like I have all the lavender in one bunch, the oregano in another bunch, chives in another bunch, etc.  Most places says it takes 2 to 4 weeks to dry these, but I go by what I see and feel.  I don't want them too moist, but again I don't want them too dry.  Once the bunch is dry, taking a few stems at a time, I take off the leaves the stems and put them in glass jars, label them and put them in a cupboard.

Herbs should be picked when it is beginning to form buds.  At this time the leaves have the highest concentration of oils.  You should pick them on a sunny day after the dew has dried.  I cut them at the stem and remove any bugs, discolored leaves, etc.  When I get them inside, I run water on them to get any dirt, etc. off and prepare them for either hanging or preparing for the sheets.

Of course, like most everything else, there are exceptions to the rules.  Some herbs, like lavender for instance, are best cut when the flowers buds are open.  That is when it contains the most fragrance and flavor.

Sometimes I gather herbs to use in my home without drying, but I do like to dry herbs to have them on hand as I never know when I will need or want to use them.

I have dried herbs in my oven in a  pinch - when I had a customer run on one.  You can place leaves on a cookie sheet.  Don't put them more than one inch deep and place them in the oven at 180 degrees for 2 to 4 hours.  I check them after two hours, but most of the time it takes four hours to dry them.  Also, I have heard that you can dry them in a microwave, but I don't have one of those, so I can't tell you.

Regarding essential oils, we Old Order Mennonite and the Amish do make them.  Certain oils I make in my home and some I go buy.  With this being farming season, I sometimes don't have the time to make the oils I would like so I go to an Mennonite store a few towns over and buy what I need.   After harvest season, I will make some of my oils.

Pressing flowers and herbs, I use to do when Susan was a little girl.  I haven't had time to do since David Jr. was born.  Susan still makes them as an  activity in school and I would like to do them again.

If you have anymore questions, please feel free to ask.

Be With God,



Vickie said...

Very interesting. Next week's topic sounds very intriguing.

Richard From said...

Greetings Jean and an interesting post even though I know nothing about herbs, or what they really are,lol.

But I'm sure most of the readers do so this is a subject that I should stay out of, unless there's say "a 1970 Ford Boss mustang in mint condition with a trunk full of herbs".

A pretty nice day as I watched the sun rise this crisp morning, so I've opened all the windows to let the fresh air-in.


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Vickie,
Glad you like today's post. Next week is interesting.


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Richard,

I will pass your comments onto Jean. I didn't find any Mustangs with herbs in the trunk.

Our maintenance manager just bought a Dodge Challenger like you have on Pure Country Living. His is fire engine red.

It is a nice crisp day here, too.

Have a nice day,

Countryside Reflections said...

I love how hanging herbs and flowers look. Besides the practical purposes, they make a great decoration. Thank you for this information, and I can't wait to find out who the new Bishop is.


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Doreen,
Thank you for your comments, I will pass them on to Jean. I know who the new Bishop is, but I'm not suppose to tell until the post comes on next week.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jean, Thanks for the "herb"post! Anything new ro different happening with Michael, Edward, and little Katie recently? Oh, BTW, do you go to the Mennonite store in Seneca Falls? I used to go out there as often as I could when we lived in the Syracuse area in Onondaga County. We've now been in Washington County over 4 1/2yrs. Blessings to all, In Christ- Carol

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Carol,
Thank you for your comments and I will see that Jean gets your comments.

There are a lot of Mennonite stores in Seneca Falls and Waterloo now, but I think the store you are thinking of is Saunder's. I have been there and Jean and I have been there. I want to get down there and take some pictures to put on here. It is a large grocery store that has bakery section, delie section,fresh fruits and vegetable section, baking materials sections and lots more. What I like is the book section they have in the back. I have had to go there and spices that I couldn't get in other stores. It is really a place to see.

Blessing to you, in Christ,

annie said...

This is a very interesting post, I would like to know how she makes the oils when she has time to write it. I also would like to know any specific herbs that might be soothing to arthritis and how she would make it and use it, in a salve, lotion etc. Does she use any Vaseline type ointment that does not contain petroleum products?

Is there any particular herb that would sooth an Alzheimer's patient, or one with dementia? Something that would be calming, in a tea perhaps or something used to scent a room?

Is there any herb that her order would not allow her to use, I don't mean illegal ones, only ones that might be considered too worldly?

One other thing did she have a recipe for apple butter?Or have you published one, and I have missed it. Thank you so much.

annie said...

Forgive me, but i thought of another question, does she know of anything in particular that helps dogs keep flea & tick free? Thank you both. I know the posts take much time to write & post.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marilyn, You're right- Sauders! Sorry I didn't mention it in the previous post. Great place for sure! How are things going for you at this time? We'll be in the HEAT and then some come tomorrow+Wed; then back to cooler temps through next week it seems per The Weather Channel. Saw a flag of the entry way of a home yesterday- "Welcome Autumn". Blessings as always, Carol

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Annie,
I have written down all your questions to ask Jean.

She did put an apple butter recipe on a while back. I am not sure if it was here or Amish Stories. Now that I stop to think, I believe it was on Amish Stories. Seeing fall is coming Jean is looking up recipes for that time of year. I
am sure she can put on the apple butter recipe again.

Jean likes to know what people would like regarding recipes so if someone wants something special, please ask. Jean will see if she has it.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Carol,

I thought that's what you were mentioning. It's a way from here, but worth the ride over there. There is also an Mennonite Furniture Store and a some other stores in the area.

Things are good here. We are going to have the same weather you are having.

Blessing to you and yours,

New York State Of Mind said...

I thank Richard for the beautiful fall make-over Richard did for me today. I love it.

I told Richard, this morning, it was getting to be fall. He decided we needed a make-over and did an outstanding job.


Richard From said...

Now your ready for "Fall" Marilyn, glad that you like it! Richard

New York State Of Mind said...

You do great work, Richard.

Thanks again,