Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things You Can Do With Organic Herbs

Things You Can Do With Organic Herbs

You’ve spent the time and put forth the effort to grow organic herbs and now find yourself with a bumper crop. You can’t possibly use or give away all the herbs you’ve grown and you most certainly don’t want them to go to waste. Here are five wonderful things you can do with your excess organic herbs.

Dry Them
It’s easy to dry organic herbs even if you have a relatively humid environment. Start by harvesting the herbs early in the day when it is cool. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut fairly long stems. Wash the herbs carefully and lay themon a clean towel so that the excess moisture is absorbed. Next, bundle them together with pretty ribbon, and hang them somewhere out of the way where it is relatively dry (not in a laundry room or bathroom, for instance). Try to also avoid hanging them in direct sun because they will lose some of their color. When your organic herbs are completely dry put them in jars. This way they will last for about a year.

Freeze Them
Herbs freeze wonderfully well and they will be just like fresh when you use them. Harvest the herbs as above and wash thoroughly. Lay them on absorbant towels to dry and turn occasionally to make sure there is no excess water on the herbs. Don’t remove the leaves or flowers from the stem because herbs are best when frozen on the stem. Place them in freezer bags and label. They will be good to use as fresh for six months. To use frozen herbs, remove the package and crumble off a few leaves then put the package back in the freezer.

Make Herb Vinegar
Organic herbs make great vinegars that are wonderful when used on salads and cooked vegetables. Experiment with different organic herbs to find the flavor combinations you like best.

You will need the following:Clean glass jar with lid. Organic herbs - use the flowers too for an extra pretty color.Vinegar - White vinegar works well but you may have to look around to find organic white vinegar. Wine vinegars also work well. Cider vinegar is the old stand-by but it does have a strong flavor of its own. Fresh organic herbs are best for herb vinegars. Harvest and wash as above then fill the jar with them. Add vinegar and cover; set aside for several weeks, then strain the herbs out.

Make Organic Herb Oils
Like herbal vinegars, herbal oils are wonderful on salads. They are also great for dipping bread into and cooking with. You can even use your organic herbal oils as bath oils and skin moisturizers.

CAUTION: Herb oils MUST be refrigerated. Storage time is less when fresh herbs are used. Flavored oils are an ideal environment for the growth of certain bacteria so it is important to follow storage directions carefully. Oils made with fresh organic herbs should be used within two weeks. Oils made with fully dried organic herbs can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator.

You will need the following: A glass jar with lid
Organic herbs - either dried or freshOil - Extra virgin olive oil is good for cooking, but you can use almost any oil.

To make organic herb oils fill a glass bottle about half full of oil. Add the herbs, fill up with oil and cap.

Organic herbs and things made with them make good gifts. You can tie a ribbon around a bottle of bay oil or chive vinegar, package it with a loaf of bread or a salad set and have a unique gift that anybody will appreciate.

No comments: