How to Dry Fresh Herbs

With the price of everything going up this year, you may want to plan on cutting some costs in the kitchen and dry your fresh herbs from your herb garden. Although it may seem a little early to be discussing this, it is never too early to plan. You may want to increase the size of your herb garden to be sure that you will have enough to use throughout the year, both fresh and dried.

So, how do you dry the herbs you have grown in your herb garden? The good news is that it really isn’t too difficult. Here is a video to help you get the most out of your herb garden this year.

Planning ahead is always essential in gardening. With a solid plan, you will find you will have the greatest results and yields. Though it might seem you are planting an abundance to harvest, if you find you have more than you need for your needs both in fresh and dried, there are still things you can do with the excess.

• You can sell any extra herbs.

• You can share any extra herbs with your neighbors and friends.

• You can always donate any extra herbs to your local food bank or soup kitchen. They will thank you for your thoughtful gift.

Which herbs are you planning on growing this year? Will you use them fresh or dried? Or will you plan for both? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Using Your Garden Herbs

Photo provided by D. McAbee

Photo provided by D. McAbee

If you have planted an herb garden, you know that there is nothing better than cooking with your fresh herbs. But do you know which herbs go with which foods for the best results? Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your herb garden.

Asparagus– lemon balm, oregano, savory, lemon verbena, parsley, tarragon, lovage.

• Beans– basil, marjoram, oregano, savory, spearmint, thyme, bay, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, mint, rosemary, tarragon, lovage.

• Beets– basil, savory, thyme, bay, caraway, dill, sage, tarragon.

• Broccoli– basil, rosemary, lovage.

• Cabbage– marjoram, mint, savory, caraway, dill, fennel, oregano, lovage, borage.

• Carrots– lovage, applemint, basil, marjoram, mint, orangemint, oregano, thyme, tarragon, anise, bay, caraway.

• Cauliflower– marjoram, savory, rosemary, lovage, dill.

• Eggplant– basil, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, chervil, chives, fennel, garlic.

• Peas– applemint, basil, orangemint, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, tarragon, thyme, parsley, lovage, fennel, dill.

• Potatoes– basil, marjoram, mint, rosemary, savory, spearmint, thyme, bay, caraway, fennel, garlic, parsley.

• Spinach– lovage, sorrel, basil, mint, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, sage, marjoram, chervil, borage.

• Tomatoes– basil, marjoram, oregano, sage, thyme, fennel, dill, chervil.

• Beef– basil, lemon thyme, marjoram, mint, rosemary, savory, thyme, anise, borage, dill, fennel, garlic, lovage, parsley, tarragon.

• Chicken– lemon balm, basil, lemon thyme, rosemary, spearmint, thyme, tarragon, savory, sage, oregano, lovage, marjoram, garlic, fennel, coriander, chives, chervil.

• Eggs– lemon balm, basil, marjoram, sage, savory, thyme, tarragon, fennel, dill, bay, parsley, chervil, chives.

• Fish-lemon balm, lemon verbena, basil, clary, hyssop, lemon thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, bay, caraway, chervil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, tarragon.

• Goose– clary, marjoram, sage, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, parsley, chervil, garlic.

• Lamb– lemon balm, basil, lavender, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, chervil, dill, fennel, garlic.

• Pork– lemon balm, basil, clary, marjoram, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, chives, fennel, anise.

• Rabbit– basil, lemon thyme, rosemary, sage, thyme.

• Turkey– basil, lavender, lemon thyme, sage, thyme, tarragon, savory, oregano, lovage, garlic, fennel, bay, chervil, chives.

Be sure to use your herbs sparingly, and do not use all of the herbs listed at once. Be creative and enjoy your culinary creations. You are sure to make some divine dishes in the kitchen that are pleasing to even the most discerning palette. What are some of your favorite herb combinations that you have used in your favorite dishes?

Growing an Indoor Herb Garden

Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

Photo by Eric Allix Rogers, flickr

There are many different herbs which can be grown indoor quite successfully. All you will need to do is provide them with a bright and sunny spot, a great container, some soil and a little love.

An indoor herb garden will require the same kind of care as a house plant. However, they will also provide you with indoor plants that offer pleasant aromas and can be used to flavor many of your favorite recipes in the kitchen.

You should start your indoor herb garden with these five herbs: oregano, rosemary, mint, thyme and chives. These are the herbs that most cooks use most regularly and these herbs will do well in an indoor garden. However, herbs such as basil do not do well in an indoor garden.

Be sure to place your herb garden in a windowsill that receives lots of sunlight. This will help your herb garden to survive. The ideal windowsill would be one that faces the south or southeast and gets at least five hours of sunlight per day. Your garden should also be placed away from any drafts.

  • Purchase some small herb plants from your local garden center and greenhouse.

    • Obtain a container or pot that is 6 to 12 inches deep. You can use a 6” pot for each individual plant or use a long or wide container and plant several herbs in it.

      • Choose a light potting mix that will offer good drainage. You can find a good quality potting mix at your local garden center.

        • Place a 2 to 3 inch layer of potting mix in the bottom of your container or pot.

          • Position your herb plants in the pot or container.

            • Fill the rest of your container or pot with the potting mix, while gently pushing it around the herb plants. You will want to leave around an inch of space at the top of the container or pot to allow for watering.

              • Be sure that you water your herb garden sparingly. Herb plants do not like to sit in soil that is wet.

                • Feed your herb garden once per month with a fertilizer that is labeled to be safe for edible plants.

                  • Give your herb plants some time to acclimate to their new home. You will be able to start using your herbs once you are able to see new growth.

                    Be sure that you use pots and containers that have drainage holes. This will ensure that the roots of your herbs do not rot. You can protect your windowsill from water by placing the container or pot in plastic saucers that are a little wider than the container or pots.

                    It is important to give your herb garden the proper amount of water. When your garden receives the right amount, it will thrive and flourish. However, when you overwater, it can be very harmful to your herb garden. By keeping an eye on the moisture level of the soil, you will have a good idea of when your herb garden needs water. You will want to water the garden just enough to keep the soil moist. If you give it too much water, you will be depriving the herb plants of oxygen. If the leaves of the plants begin to turn yellow, it is a sure sign that they are getting too much water.

                    You should also be careful to not trim too much of each herb in your indoor herb garden. You will want to be sure to never trim more than 1/3 of the foliage of the herb plants.

                    Choosing to grow an indoor herb garden can be very rewarding. You will have your very own supply of fresh herbs to use in your favorite recipes. How will you use your herb garden while in the kitchen?