One week ago, I was confident the sun and tee-shirt weather had bidden us farewell until next spring. This week it appears Mother Nature is relenting and I’ve once again shed my winter coat and am strolling barefoot through the last bits of outdoor warmth and comfort. The cold winds and cloudy days are only biding their time until their final return, so I’m reaping the last of the garden’s reward for this growing season while the sun still shines.
As my homeschool responsibilities have grown, I have less time for gardening. I’ve found a few ways to save myself time while still enjoying my hobby.
My biggest time saver to date has been using hay as mulch (as advocated in this entertaining gardening must-read ). Scattering hay on our beds cut down considerably on weeding and watering this year. We will be continuing the practice in our next summer’s garden. (Tour our 2017 Garden!)
Beyond the actually gardening process, there is the time-consuming necessity of storing all the delicious bounty. Several years ago I would dry our herbs with a dehydrator. It required time (washing, drying, arranging, removing, and storing) and consumed energy. Last year I hit on a better method. Just this afternoon, I was able to put up my herbs using rubber bands, nails, and 5 minutes of my time.
How to Dry Herbs the Easy Way
1.Cut herbs and gather into a bundle.
I gather the herbs in a bundle with other stems of the same variety. All the sage goes in one bundle, the oregano in another, etc.
2.Tie the end of the bundle together with a rubber band.
The rubber band will contract as the stems dehydrate.
3.Wash the herbs by plunging them in a bowl full of water.
4.Gently towel dry the herbs.
The herbs do not need to be completely dry, but this will prevent them from dripping all over your floor.
5.Hook the rubber band around a nail head and let stand to dry.
A nail with a head will hold the bundle better. If you are having problems with the bundle staying on the nail, try tying a bit of string around the bundle and hanging it with the string.
6.Use the herbs straight from the bundle throughout winter or, once they are completely dry, shake off the leaves and seal in a air-tight container for storage.
- This works better in the dry air of fall. Our local summer weather is too humid to allow the herbs to dry on their own. I usually dry my herbs sometime in October.
- Choose a room other than the kitchen. The kitchen air may be too humid from cooking to allow for adequate drying.
- Herbs are a great starter garden. Our spring was too crazy to allow me to put in any annual herbs, but my perennial herbs took care of themselves and will provide us great flavor in our winter cooking!
- Makes a great present!
Here is my herb wall hanging on a partition in the laundry room/mud room. They will stay there until next summer when I again have fresh herbs. Their bit of green and outdoors is a welcome sight when the cold wind blows!
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