Using herbs from a home garden

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Using Herbs from a home garden

You have planted the herbs and watched them grow and flourish.  They are extremely useful in so many ways.  But, using herbs from a home herb garden requires a little bit of work first. 

In order to use the herbs you will need to harvest them first.  Timing is a factor that cannot be ignored.  The heat and the wind could break up the necessary oils of the herbs.  You need to pick a dry and calm morning to harvest your herbs during midsummer.  Lesser oils are yielded by the herb on days that are highly wet.  The herbs need to be harvested after the dew dries form the leaves prior to the flowers opening.  Removing the entire plant is not necessary when harvesting the herb.  Upon reaching this point, you are just removing some amount of growth to be used.  The herbs that you are harvesting aren’t necessary for use at the time that you pick them.  You can preserve them for later use.  Be careful to remove not more than a third of the plant’s foliage at a time.  For the plant to re-grow well, it will need a good amount of foliage. Before you harvest it, you need to make certain to inspect the plant for insects and impaired leaves.

In preserving herbs, typically there are three ways for use later; drying, freezing or preserving them in salt or vinegar, which you have in your kitchen. To succeed in properly drying herbs, you will need twelve stems to bundle together and spruce away any foliage close to the base of the stems.  You can use a string to securely bundle them with.  In a cool location away from sunlight, there you can hang the bundle.  You can use a screen or a rack if you are looking to dry leaves individually there, you can place them on.  Do not forget to flip them constantly in order for them to properly dry.  Few people have resorted to utilizing appliances like microwaves, dehydrators or ovens to dry herbs as well although these are ways that offer results that is less satisfactory.  Freezing herbs is a quite simple way to evenly preserve herbs.  Using wax paper to line with cut the herbs into ¼ inch pieces and place on a baking sheet.  Once the herbs are frozen, you can put them all together in a bag and place them inside the freezer until use.  Through a medium is another (third) way you can use to preserve herbs. For example, you could cover herbs like basil, chopped mint or tarragon with vinegar and for several months it will be preserved.  Or by making flavored salt, you can preserve herbs by alternating layers of fresh herbs between salt.  When dry completely divide the brown herb from the flavored salt and set it aside in a container that is airtight. 

Sure, people use herbs often fresh right out of the garden.  Use caution cleaning and preparing the herbs prior to being placed fresh in recipes.  Using a bowl filled with cool water, clean the fresh herbs.  You can use the sink if there is a large quantity of herbs.  In the water, put around two tablespoons of salt.  The salt in the water will repel away insects without causing damaging to the herb plant.  Take the herbs away from the water and dry them in a salad spinner.   

Various kinds of herbs are used for much variety of uses.  Each different kinds of herb have their own list of instructions on how to use, harvest and chop.  Make certain to research the particular type of herb you are using for correct use. 


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