Enjoy Fresh Summer Herbs All Year Long

| 10/14/2011 11:53:15 AM

B.WhiteBriscoe White is owner and master grower at The Growers Exchange, an all-natural online garden center that specializes in rare and traditional herbs for culinary, aromatic and medicinal use. He is a member of many garden and nature-related organizations including the Garden Writers Association. When he's not tending his greenhouse or writing for his blog, Briscoe’s Seeds For Thought, he spends what little free time he has planning his next garden and playing with his dogs on his family farm in Charles City, Virginia. 

As summer dwindles down to a close, you may be left standing in your garden or kitchen thinking "Okay, now what?" What should you do with your bountiful harvest of fresh herbs? If you're unable to use them all in a timely manner, we've got some great ways you can dry, freeze, pickle and pack them to continue enjoying your favorite herbs well into the winter.

10-14-2011-fresh summer herbs

Before you can begin to prepare your herbs for extended storage, you have to harvest them. Remember that when you harvest your herbs is just as important as how you preserve them. In order to yield the best results, make sure to do your homework on each particular plant. A good rule of thumb is to harvest fresh leaves in the early to mid-summer, or before the plant goes to bolt. Once it begins to flower, all of the plant's energy is focused toward producing seeds and the flavor begins to turn bitter. When harvesting your herbs, make sure to harvest from all around the plant to allow it to keep its shape (unless you are harvesting the whole plant), and to use clean, sharp garden scissors for a nice, easy cut.

You should also consider the end use of your herb. For example, with herbs such as lavender, the budding flowers are the most flavorful and fragrant; so it is best to harvest them before they fully open up if you're using this aromatic herb in potpourris or crafts. The prime time for picking culinary herbs is in the morning, before the sun reduces the flavorful, volatile oils of the leaves.

Drying Herbs At Home

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