Tuesday, September 27, 2022

From the Herb Garden to the Autumn Kitchen

Happy Fall Y'all

As the heat and humidity of a southern summer has loosened it's grip, we welcome cooler temperatures and sweet, fresh air making it's way into the house through open windows.
That cooler air seems to give me a burst of energy that was in shorter supply over the summer.

Last week I used one of those bursts of energy to empty out my herbs and spice drawer.  The drawer got wiped out and each jar was gone through to see what needed to be replaced or tossed out.  Once that was done I organized it in a more logical fashion.  It felt good to have that accomplished in time for all of the cooking and baking that will be taking place in the coming months.

For the first time, I decided to dry chives from my herb garden.
After washing and drying them, I snipped them up and set them in shallow bowls on the kitchen counter.  In a few days they were dry and ready to make a tasty addition to scrambled eggs, potatoes, soups or just about anything that could use a hint of mild onion flavoring.

I recently learned about drying herbs in a paper bag.
With this method I washed and dried the herbs and then put them into a paper bag leaving plenty of breathing room around them.
From there they went into a dark closet.  Every few days I would give the bag a couple shakes.  In a week or two they were dried beautifully.  No oven or dehydrator required.

I successfully dried oregano, parsley and lemon balm using that method.  The next thing I will be doing is mint.  Sometimes the mint seems like a nuisance as it is taking over and growing rampant.  But then something makes me remember how delicious it is.  In this case, it was the other evening after having a rather late and heavy meal for dinner.  I prepared a cup of mint tea and enjoyed it on the patio.  Darkness had set in, the autumn air so refreshing, solar lights adding color to the darkness and the nocturnal animals heard, but not seen.  We rarely sit outside in the dark.  This turned out to be an enjoyable after dinner ritual, particularly now that the patio is screened and the mosquitoes left Brett alone.  The tea was better than an after dinner mint and seemed to work wonders in helping to settle that heavy meal.

My dried herbs have also been making their way into new uses.
Something I learned about from this book:

Combinations of herbs and spices that can be mixed together and sprinkled onto our food to add beneficial health benefits.  

I have learned so much from this book.
It has made me want to appreciate and use the herbs I grow to the fullest.  I have also become familiar with herbs and spices that I had never heard of.  Her knowledge and presentation (like the thoughts above) really resonate with me.  A fairly simple way to work at keeping myself and my family healthy.