• harvest before flowering • cut in mid-morning after morning dew has dried and before hot afternoon sun
• start with a good washing to remove bugs and/or chemicals then shake dry, pat dry then air dry about 15 minutes • the purpose of drying is to remove the water content which causes spoilage but retain the herb’s natural oils
• this is the most esthetically pleasing but slow but a very good choice for a dry climate • pull leaves 1/2’from base of herb stem and bundle 4—6 stems together • tie with string or use an elastic
• hang upside down (to. allow oils to travel to the leaves) in a place with good air flow and no direct sunlight (sun will fade the color)
Slow Air Drying
• can be done on home made racks, newspapers or paper towels • you must rotate each day and most likely change the paper towels • again store in a place with good air flow and out of direct sun
• turn your oven to its lowest setting and prop open the door 4” — 6”, use paper towel on the oven racks • keep checking until leaves are dry
• this piece of equipment is highly recommended as it is more reliable than slow air drying in getting the moisture out and therefore preventing mold in future storage
• his can take about 3 minutes but depends on your oven, the trick is not to overcook the leaves
• this method is an alternative for herbs that have a high water content like basil,dill, mint, tarragon or chives • the herb becomes limp but the flavor is intact • frozen herbs measure the same as fresh herbs whereas dried herbs are a more concentrated flavor • freeze cleaned herbs one of two ways... spread individual leaves on a small tray covered until frozen then store in a zip lock bag or, chop first then place in an ice cube tray, fill water to half, push down the herbs then freeze until almost frozen • fill with water, freeze to solid then store in zip lock bags
• dried herbs will last about a year stored in an air tight container, zip lock bags not recommended • flavor deteriorates with loss of color • frozen herbs will keep several months with no loss of flavor
USES FOR THE BODY... RELAXING EYE COMPRESS
5 leaves or I tsp. dried mint 1 cup water Place the herbs in a ceramic bowl, pour in freshly boiled water, cover and let it infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through an unbleached paper coffee filter and leave to cool. To reduce dark circles under the eyes, dip 2 cotton pads in the liquid and place on the eyelids for 10— 15 minutes.
1 handful of fresh lavender leaves or 2 tbsp. dried flowers 2 bay leaves, fresh or dry or a handful of fresh sweet maqoram leaves I tbsp. sea salt or Epsom salt
A foot bath is excellent for tired feet and aching leg muscles. Make an infusion with the herbs and let steep for 10 minutes. Fill a large bowl with hot water, add the herbal infusion and sea salt. Soak your feet for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and pat dry.
2 tbsp. dried or 6 fresh chamomile flowers 2 tbsp. dried or 6 sprigs fresh lavender or a handful of fresh chamomile, peppermint, horsetail or rosemary One of the easiest ways to add herbs to the bath is to hang a small cloth bag under the hot water faucet. Fill the bag with either a single dried herb or a mixture of herbs and run the hot water through it, infusing the water and the air in the bathroom with herbs.
4 tbsp. (60 g) or 2 tbsp. (30g) dried horsetail leaves 2’tbsp. crushed dill seed 1 quart (850 ml) water Place the horsetail and dill in a covered pot with the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Cool, strain and pour into a bottle. Seal. Will keep for up to 4 weeks. Soak finger nails 10 minutes every other day over several weeks. The silica acid in the horsetail and the dill will strengthen your nails
SEA SALT BODY SCRUB
1 kilo fine sea salt 125 ml sweet almond oil 8 ml lavender oil 4 ml orange or tangerine oil handful of dried lavender (optional) Mix all ingredients together and package.
Due to its excellent healing and analgesic properties, lavender can provide instant relief from heat rash or red and sore sunburned skin. It can also prevent blistering.
FOR THE HOUSE..
LAVENDER CLEANING FORMULA
1/3 cup gin 2/3 cup distilled water about 12 drops of pure lavender essence or essential oil Mix together in a spray bottle and use as a pleasantly scented cleaning solution.
NATURAL COMPOST ACCELERATOR
Chamomile or yarrow plants can be added to the compost heap to speed up the decomposition process. The heat they release accelerates decay and kills weed seeds.
LAVENDER WORKS MOSQUITO MIRACLES
Stop the bites! Rub a lavender flower behind your ears, wrists and neck. Not only will you smell great but mosquitoes will leave you alone.
HERBS TO KEEP MOTHS AWAY
Combine equal parts of whole cloves, Thyme and Rosemary. Place in a small sachet bag and store on your drawer.
1 small bunch chives 1/2 cup canola oil Blanch the chives for 30 seconds in boiling water, then drain and chill in an ice bath. Drain, wrap the chives in a towel, and squeeze the moisture out. Place in a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend for 2 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Put the chive oil in a plastic squeeze bottle with a small opening tip. These can be purchased in a cake decorating section of a store. Keep the squeeze bottle in the freezer and defrost when needed. It is a delicious and attractive garnish for soups and main courses. Makes 1/2 cup
BASIC HERB JELLY
2 cups water or 2 1/2 cups fruit juice or wine 1 cup fresh herbs 4 cups sugar 1/4 cup cider vinegar or lemon juice 1 drop food coloring, or as needed 3 ounces liquid pectin fresh herb sprigs or 1/2 cup chopped herbs
This jelly can be made with a variety of herbs and herb flowers. If fresh herbs are not available, substitute one-third the amount of dried herbs. Use vinegar if you are making a jelly to be eaten as a savory with meats or cheese; lemon juice if it is to be eaten as a sweet. Any fruit juice or wine can be used in place of the water for greater variety, and you can combine two or more herbs in one jelly. If you are using flowers that do not seem to be giving up their color in the water, add 2 thsp. of the vinegar to the water while they are steeping. The following herbs and/or their flowers are among the many that can be used in this recipe: rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley, lemon verbena, mint, any of the scented basils, tarragon, ginger, garlic, chive blossom, lavender, lemon thyme, chamomile, fennel, borage, bee balm, or rose petals (white heel removed). Bring the water or fruit juice to a boil and pour it over the fresh herbs. Cover and steep until the liquid has cooled. Strain, pressing all the liquid and flavor out of the herbs. In a non-aluminum saucepan combine 2 cups of herbal infusion with the sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and the food coloring if you are using it. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and as soon as the sugar has dissolved, stir in the pectin. Return to a rolling boil, stirring, and boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove the jelly from the heat and skim off any foam. If you are using fresh herbs as decoration, place a fresh herb sprig in each jar and hold it in place with a sterilized spoon or chopstick. When the jelly is nearly set, remove the spoon or chopstick and the sprig will stay in place. Stir chopped herbs into the jelly before pouring it into the jar. (If the herbs do not stay suspended, stir the jelly occasionally until it thickens enough to hold.) Process small jars for 5 minutes in a hot-water bath or seal with a thin layer of paraffin. Makes 4 to 5 half pints.
GARDEN HERB MIX
2 tbsp. dried rosemary, crumbled 2 tbsp. dried oregano 2 tbsp. dried basil 2 tbsp. rubbed sage I tbsp. dried tarragon I tbsp. dried thyme I tbsp. celery seed
Mix all together in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or until finely ground but not powdered. Store up to 8 months in a tightly sealed jar away from light, heat and moisture. This blend will instantly perk up many recipes such as omelettes, chicken dishes, tomato sauces, vinaigrettes or rice. Use to prepare the following recipe. Makes about 2/3 cup
1tsp. Garden Herb Mix 1/2 cup apricot or peach jam 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 5 garlic cloves, minced finely Blend all together in a small bowl. Use on ribs, chicken or burgers about 5 minutes before done. Makes 3/4 cup
2 cups mild olive oil 2 good handsful of fresh basil leaves
Tear up the basil leaves and place in a bowl. Pour over the olive oil, making sure that every leaf is submerged. Pour into an airtight container with a sealed lid and leave the oil in a warm place to infuse the basil flavor. Stir once a week, and make sure the leaves stay below the surface of the oil or they will become moldy. After a month, strain the oil through an unbleached coffee filter and discard the bay leaves. Place a few fresh leaves for decoration in a steril ized container and pour in the filtered oil. Seal and store out of the sunlight. This can be used well with many different herbs. Use for sautés, salad dressings and marinades.
2 cups white wine vinegar 2 handsful of fresh tarragon leaves
Fill a clean glass bottle full of fresh tarragon leaves. Make sure they are packed in tight against the container. Top up the bottle with white wine vinegar and seal. Do not use a metal cap as the vinegar is corrosive. Leave on a sunny windowsill for a month, shaking from time to time, so the leaves can infuse the vinegar with their flavor. Tarragon vinegar is good for making salad dressing and sauces for chicken or fish.