Friday, September 4, 2009

Important Things To Remember On Using Herbs From Your Home Herb Garden

By Jack Grant

You have planted the herbs in your home herb garden 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.

If you are planning to use the herbs, you should harvest them first but before doing so, you should consider the time you will harvest a certain herb. The weather at a certain place affects the good harvest of a herb. Some herbs are affected by the season especially during harvest time. Their essential oils can be dispersed by the wind and the heat. It is already a common practice that herbs are harvested during dry season because herbs have fewer oils during the wet season. If you harvest a herb, you only get a certain part of it and not the entire plant. Harvesting the herb does not mean you have to use it at once at the time you picked them but you can preserve them by keeping it in the refrigerator. In harvesting, you have to inspect for insects and leaves that are damaged from the herbs.

Typically owner of a home herb garden know that there are three ways to preserve their herbs for later use; drying, freezing, or preserving them in a medium like salt or vinegar. In order to dry herbs you need to bundle six to twelve stems together and remove any foliage near the base of the stems. You can secure the bundle with string. The home herb garden enthusiasts protect the bundle in a cool location away from sunlight. If you are looking to dry individual leaves you can place them on a screen or a rack. Remember to turn them often in order for them to dry properly. Some people who owning a home herb garden have turned to using appliances like dehydrators, ovens or microwaves to dry herbs as well although these are less satisfactory ways. Freezing herbs is a fairy simple way to preserve herbs. Cut the herbs into inch pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Once the herbs are frozen, you can place them together in a bag and store them in the freezer until use. The third way to preserve herbs in home herb gardens is through a medium. For instance, you can cover herbs like chopped mint, basil or tarragon with vinegar and it will be preserved for several months. Or you can make a flavored salt to preserve herbs by alternating layers of fresh herbs between salt. When completely dry separate the brown herb from the flavored salt and store it in an airtight container.

If you are using the fresh herbs right away after it has been harvested, you should see to it that you wash it with a cool water and two tablespoons of salt because there is a possibility that insects are present in the herb and the salt will drive them away without damaging the plant. To dry the herb, remove it from the water and place them in a salad spinner.

Herbs are used in different ways, they are harvested and chopped in different procedures. Be sure that you are knowledgeable with the herb you have for your proper usage of it.

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1 comment:

atli092 said...

An insightful post on home herb gardening.

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Thanks,
John - Home herb garden