Monday, September 9, 2013
JEAN ANSWERS QUESTIONS REGARDING HERBS
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,
NEXT WEEK , JEAN'S CHURCH HAS A NEW BISHOP. YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN WHO IT IS.