Herbs are so beneficial. They can be very beautiful to look at. They taste great and can have medicinal properties that you may not quite understand yet. No body said it would be easy, like going to your local store to pick up your favourite herbs to add to your cooking is part of your shopping chores. To produce your very own herbs from your home herb garden gives you the pleasure and self achievement as well as knowing there are no pesticides or chemical used.
Of course you will have to harvest the herbs so that you can use them. Be sure that you pick them at the most opportune time, when it is neither too hot nor too windy. In that way they will have the highest concentration of essential oils. A morning that is dry and calm will be to your advantage for harvesting because fewer oils are produced on humid or wet days. When you harvest you will not take the whole plant but will take a portion of the growth. Do this on a mild day in the middle of summer, after the dew has dried but before the flowers have opened.
There are three ways to preserve herbs for future use:
3. Preserving them in a salt or vinegar.
When drying herbs, bundle six to twelve stems together and remove any foliage near the base of the stems and secure the bundle with a string. Hang away from sunlight in a cool area. To dry individual leaves, place them on a screen or rack and turn them often so they dry properly. Some people claim appliances such as dehydrators and microwaves are a good way to dry herbs, but the results are not as good.
If you prefer to freeze your herbs make sure you cut them into small pieces then place them on a tray. Once they are frozen keep them in the freezer in a container or bag until you are ready to use them. They can be frozen in a small amount of water in ice cube trays as well.
Using salt or vinegar to preserve your herbs is another good way. Mint, basil and tarragon are a great example of herbs preserved in vinegar. Make sure once you have decided which herbs you want preserving in vinegar or oil to keep them refrigerated until you need them.
Why not just use the herbs fresh straight from your home herb garden. Make sure that your herbs are clean before you use them. To do this fill a bowl with clean cold water and add two table spoons of salt. This little trick separates any insects that may be on your herbs but does not damage your fresh herbs at all. Using a salad spinner will dry your herbs ready for use.
This articles touched on some main points about home herb gardening but the research you do will be key to your success with your new-found hobby. Because every herb is different and requires certain elements from you to thrive, it will be important to learn the specific needs and requirements for the types of herbs you plan to grow in your garden.