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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

harvest day

I know I've mentioned that I'm mainly growing herbs in my garden this summer.  That probably sounded to you like not a lot of work.  That's sure how it sounded to me. 

And the thing about herbs is that they're not a lot of work to grow.  They really only want water and sun and are apparently really unappetizing to all garden pests.  It's after you harvest them that the real work begins. 

Yesterday was harvest day.  The first of, what I'm sure will be, many similar days this summer and into the fall.  Not to imply that this was the first time I've cut any herbs this year.  But those cuts were more of the "I'm making pizza and would like some fresh basil" type, whereas these cuts were of the "I can't see the neighbor's fence anymore because the parsley is three feet tall" variety. 

In case you're at all interested, or in case you have piles of fresh herbs at your house too, I thought I'd share what I did with them all.  First I put everything on a wire table outside and hosed it down thouroughly.  Then I laid the herbs out on the patio to dry in the sun for about an hour. 

I like to dry oregano, thyme, and sage in our food dehydrator.  It takes about two days.  I just throw in the whole stems and then crumble the leaves off once they're dry. 

This is what our food dehyrator looks like.  You can use it for anything, but we mostly use it for herbs. 

The basil got tossed in the food processor with a few other ingredients for a big batch of pesto.  I like to make pesto to freeze throughout the summer so that we can enjoy it all year. 

I made a batch of herbal tea with the mint.  It is not very strong, but has a great smell. 

I don't think that dried parsley is a good substitute for fresh, so I learned this trick a few years ago.  I take several stems of parsley and hold them together in my hand.  Then I dip them into boiling water to blanch them for about 30 seconds- just until they turn dark green. 

Each bunch goes into a separate baggie and they all go into the freezer.  And whenever I need fresh parsley in the dead of winter, I just pull out a bag!

I had such a great time playing in the kitchen all afternoon.  There is something very satisfying to me about preparing food to be used at a later time.  It's like money in the bank.  Today, I feel pretty rich. 

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