I love herbs... the concentrated nutrition and flavor, not to mention how much fun they are to grow!
This year I have excess, I can't eat as much as the plants have produced, so to not waste any I am drying my Lemon Verbena, Tarragon, Chocolate Mint and Lemon Thyme. It's so easy to do, all you need is sufficient air circulation to remove all of the moisture. While there are many different ways to preserve the herbs, I prefer to hang dry mine inside - it gives my home a nice aroma while they are drying.
Dried herbs have many health benefits as well as once dried, they are safe from mold and yeast growth. Here's a few facts about each herb and why I chose to focus my efforts on them this year:
- I chose to grow Lemon Verbena as it is so easy to grow in your backyard. Although this is my first year growing it, I've been hearing about it's health benefits for quite some time - and they are nothing short of amazing! It's known to boost your immune system, aids in weight loss and is great for protecting your muscles and reducing inflammation.
- Tarragon is a great, easy herb to grow if you love to cook! Though it is most popular to add to Mediterranean dishes, I add it into salad dressings or on top of roasted vegetables to enhance their flavors! It is also an excellent way of getting calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin-C into your diet.
- Lemon Thyme is also a delicious herb to use when cooking and has some powerful medicinal purposes too! It increases your blood flow and respiratory system health. It tastes amazing with chicken dishes or add it to some boiling water for a flavorful and nutritious tea!
- Chocolate Mint is another low maintenance herb and it smells absolutely wonderful. It tastes similar to a traditional mint plant, but has a sweet, subtle chocolate-like flavor. Drying this herb allows me to save and use it during the winter holiday season, when I add it to hot chocolate, tea, coffee and even salads!
Drying your own herbs is so easy and tastes much better than store bought. Here's how I dried my herbs in 4 easy steps:
- Cut herbs with as much stem as possible and shake outside to make sure there's no critters hanging out. I don't wash my herbs as I believe it takes away some flavor and they're clean from constant watering all summer.
- Make herb bunches by gathering 4-5 stems at the base and tie off with a string.
- Put herb bunches in brown paper bags upside down, gather top of bag and stem bunch then tie with a string.
- Let herb bags sit or hang anywhere inside where the temperature doesn't fluctuate for a couple of weeks or until completely dry.
What herbs did you grow in your garden this summer?