Over the summer I will be posting a short story on herbs and their use or history.
In a scientific sense herb refers to plants which lack woody tissues but on an everyday term refers to plants used for culinary, medicinal purposes or for their fragrance. This often causes confusion since many are shrubby or woody such as rosemary and willow. Further confusion arises when we refer to herbs and spices.
In short herbs are plants or parts of plants (stem, leaves, roots, flowers) used in medicinal, therapeutic way or cooking to flavour foods.
When using fresh herbs, pick only as much as you need into a basket, on cloth or tissue, never onto plastic container. Pick either new shoots or tips to encourage bushiness or for perennials pick off lower leaves before they become too old to use.
Best time to harvesting for later use is in the morning after the dew has dried and before the strong sun reduces the aromatic oil content. As a rule, collect aromatic plants before the flowers open and those where aromatic tips are used, just after the flowers have opened.
Quick drying in a dark, well ventilated areas should best preserve their quality. Store in tight, dark containers or freeze.
The above information is based on Green Guide Herbs ISBN. 9781853682872.
I wash my herbs in soapy water prior to drying or freezing to ensure it is just the herb that I am preserving.
Everyone is welcomed to the Garden Gaggle Summer meetings or discussion on WI Flyers FB page. Meetings are held at short notice (one week) due to weather conditions and time availability by the members. In our meetings we gaggle, swap cuttings and seeds, hoping to visit a great garden this Summer.
Eva on behalf of Garden Gaggle.