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Monday, July 27, 2009

Herbs and Berries! Oh my!

Last week, we harvested several herbs from our herb garden, including lavender, chamomile, basil, oregano, curly parsley, and flat-leaf parsley. My mom (Darcy's) surprised us by buying us a much-needed dehydrator, which we tried out for the first time on our herbs. Additionally, we dehydrated several cups of mulberries from our second harvest.

Before we had a dehydrator, we dried herbs by putting them in the oven or hanging them upside down in a cool, dark place. The dehydrator makes drying much more convenient, but herb drying is 100% possible without one.

For our lavender and chamomile, we followed the same process, but did much more research prior to harvesting as this was our first attempt at tea herbs. We learned that when the chamomile flowers have white petals, it is time to harvest. If the white petals begin falling off, it's too late. To obtain them, I simply plucked the flowers off with my fingers; I found this to be the most efficient way to quickly harvest. As for the lavender, I cut the stems about three inches below the purple flowers. Both herbs were dehydrated in the dehydrator and stored in Mason Jars, which were then placed in our food pantry.

The mulberries needed to be dehydrated for much longer ~ 12 hours! What a delicious addition they will be to our bowls of cereal this winter!

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