Dehydrating herbs

Last week, I finally turned my attention to the herbs that were still waiting to be harvested from my garden.  Honestly, I am such an irresponsible gardener – I plant things like herbs with no plan how to use them, no idea when to harvest them, and just let them sit there for weeks.  After doing some reading on herbal healing these last couple of weeks, I was inspired to pick them, since I realized that unbeknownst to me, I had medicinal herbs growing right in my garden all this time!  It’s so true what Hippocrates said, about, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” – particularly with herbs, they are one and the same.  I got them picked just in time – later that night, we had our first snow.

All you really have to do to dry herbs is tie them together loosely and hang them upside down, but with eight kids home all day, I have enough visual clutter I’m constantly trying to keep at bay without having little bundles all around my kitchen, dropping little pieces all over my floor and counter!  Since I now that I have a dehydrator, I have a neater solution!

The Excalibur dehydrators come with a setting for drying herbs, and after instructing the child picking the herbs to be very careful to keep them all separate, I asked another child to rinse them off and put them in the dehydrator.  Sometimes I kick myself for forgetting to give a child a reminder that would have saved time and aggravation, and the next day was one of those days.  Because I neglected to mention to the child putting the herbs in the dehydrator that each kind should go on its own shelf – it seemed self explanatory to me, but that’s because I’m an adult.  :)

So when I removed everything from the dehydrator, I saw four or five kinds of green leafy herbs mixed together on the trays.  Do you know how similar herbs look when they’re dried to the untrained (read: my) eyes?!  Anyway, we sorted them through as best as we could, leaving all of those that we couldn’t figure out in a pile, and after crushing that pile, called it Italian herb blend.  :)

It wasn’t a huge amount of spices, but it’s nice to have our own organically grown parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, and sage on hand!


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