Keep the flavor of your garden alive all year long. Pick and dry herbs for winter meals and holiday gifts.
Collect large amounts of basil, rosemary, marjoram and sage just prior to flowering. Cut the plants back about halfway in the morning after the dew has just dried off the leaves. Rinse, but do not soak the clippings. Then remove any damaged or dried leaves.
Gather the herbs into small bundles and secure with a rubber band. As the stems shrink so does the rubber band. Use a spring type clothespin to hang the bundles from a clothes line or hanger.
Move the bundled herbs to a warm, dry, airy place - out of direct sunlight for drying. Many gardeners like to cover the drying herbs with a paper bag to keep them clean.
You can also dry herbs in the microwave. Remove the leaves from freshly harvested herbs. Evenly spread 2 cups of washed herb leaves on a double thickness of paper towel. Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes depending on your microwave.
Fully dried herbs will be brittle and rattle when stirred. Store dried herbs in an airtight container for later use.
A bit more information: Complete your herbal gift with a few of your favorite recipes or suggestions for using these herbs. You may even want to include a few of the other ingredients for these recipes, place it in a basket and tie it up with a bow. Something from the heart and garden always makes for a special gift.
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