drying herbs, harvesting herbs, herbal honey, herbs, lavender, oregano, sage, thyme
IN THE COOL OF THE DAY, just as the sun was peeking over the tree tops and the morning’s dew had dried, I cut bunches of sage (berggarten & golden), oregano, thyme, and some of the first lavender to bloom, for drying. As far as timing goes most of the herbs have not yet bloomed and I was right on the money in picking on Wednesday–yesterday we had rain!
For large quantities I prefer to hang in small bunches until dry. I have tried the microwave method but think that there is a loss of potency and the leaves seem a little more crispy.
After cleaning and removing dead stems, leaves, etc. I made small bunches, tied them with string and hung them to dry in my laundry room. It’s the buffer between the main part of the house and the garage; it remains cool, dark and has good air circulation with some occasional warmth from the dryer. Bunches of lemon balm were well dried in about five days.
After drying I gently strip leaves from stems and lightly crush/crumble them and store in jars. Since I cannot possibly grow every herb and spice I like to use, some have to be purchased; I save the emptied jars, remove the labels and use again for my own storage.
I made sure to leave some stalks to flower for the honeybees. Someone around here is bound to have some nice herbal honey. And a little later in the summer will have a second crop to use.