DRY­ING HERBS

NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Food -

Har­vest herbs on a dry, sunny morn­ing after the dew has evap­o­rated. Pick early, be­fore the sun gets too hot, oth­er­wise the oils will evap­o­rate. Hang stems in small bunches to al­low the leaves to dry quickly. Hang in a room that has good air cir­cu­la­tion and warmth but not heat, as heat will de­stroy the oils. Place out of di­rect sun­light. Once dry, re­move the leaves from the stems and store, whole, in air­tight con­tain­ers un­til you’re ready to make your own herbal blends.

Col­lect the seeds of herbs in late sum­mer/ early au­tumn just be­fore they ripen and be­fore the seed­pods burst open. The seed­pod be­gins to ripen when it turns from green to brown. Cut stems with seed­pods at­tached and place the heads in a pa­per bag. Tie the bag closed with string, then hang from the stems in a warm, dry spot with plenty of air cir­cu­la­tion. The seed­pods will con­tinue to ripen over the next cou­ple of weeks and the seeds will be re­leased into the bag. Store the seeds in an air­tight con­tainer.

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