Drying herbs and pondering

Hello all!

I have been away from my blog for a little while.  Mostly because of..Christmas!  My family takes a week (at least) to prepare and then Christmas seems to last a week after that.  I love it though!  Then, I was out of town..among other things.

So, I want to take the time now to just tell you about some things I have pondered over lately.

I have spent much of my time worrying over things (about a month ago and previous months as well).  Even though I knew it would not help any situations that were worrying me, I still did it.  It is a natural thing.  But, I was letting it dominate.  I forgot that a positive attitude and faith can go a long way.  It really is silly to spend so much of your time worrying because that is unnecessary stress – worries and stress over things out of your control.  Life is too short for that!

Although..easier said then done!  What grounded me again was going to the Meher Baba Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach.  I was surrounded my Baba’s energy and love and it infinitely filled me up again.  I talked to a wonderful lady named Carol who told me, “Coming here is like you are the plant and you are getting a drink of water.  That first sip feels so good.  And after you leave, the water trickles down slowly, and completely nourishes your roots.”  This stuck with me.

I think it is important to find something that nourishes your roots.  It doesn’t have to be a spiritual center or church.  I have found that many things can nourish your roots.  Spending time with people you truly love definitely does it for me.  Hiking up to the top of a quiet mountain, yoga, and meditation also are nourishing.  I think the key is having time set aside in a location or with people that suit you at the time.  The other key is to attempt to clear your mind and let worries go.  Give that time to yourself.

I am in no way preaching, however, I am just suggesting!

For me, I have to remember that my views right now are that God is in all of us.  And that we are here to infinitely love God.  Our purpose here is not to DO all the things we have to do in the material world but to do all of those things WITH love for others, towards others, for the world and WITH love for God.  And also, to enjoy and savor this life.

My main point is to not let all of these distractions get the best of you all the time.  When you feel they are, take a few deep breaths.  See if you can take a sip of water somewhere and nourish your roots.  Think positive (maybe remember that everyone somewhere is going through something, whether it’s “harder” or not is all relative).

Now,

Since I’d like to provide some useful information and a visual for y’all, I have decided to talk a little bit about herbs.  This is a subject that I am fondly and passionately interested in, but have only begun to learn.  Although I have many things that I did in the spring and summer that I never got around to posting, I think that for a winter posting, I’d like to be thinking about herbs.  This is because now is the time you can take your bottled herbs and make something with them!

It is cold outside, so even with a farm, you spend more of your time indoors then you did in the fall, summer, and spring.  So, you can be inside sipping on some tea (made from your own herbs!) and making various concoctions (I like that word).

  • When harvesting your herbs, so far what I know is to harvest them in the morning after any dew has dried off but before the hot midday sun.  As far as exactly what month to harvest, I cannot say at this point.  I suggest figuring out what you want to harvest, then searching for that specific plant obviously.  (I will learn more as my education continues!)
  • Drying herbs:

Ways – dehydrator, oven, air dry on layered paper towels or thin cloth, hang air dry

What I did last season:

air dry on paper towels and hang air dry

TIPS: turn your herbs over every now and then to allow air to dry both sides on paper towel

have plenty of air flow in the room

to hang dry, use clothes pins on a wire line or clothes pin or tie string to coat hangers

make sure herbs are not too close together (air needs to get to them!)

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Method of hang air drying from a coat hanger.

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  • Storing herbs: 

I do not yet know exact lengths of time it takes to dry herbs.  I think it depends on the herb (how dense the leaves are and such).  What I did, was probably wait way too long just to make sure!  I did not want ANY moisture in the plant when they were stored.

A way to tell if it is dry enough is to take a little piece and see how well it crumbles!

If ready, it is time to store them.  I meticulously tried to store only the really nice leaves.  If they were too browned (except with basil which browning naturally happens), I would put them aside (to maybe use in sachets).  I am anxious to learn from a pro however.  My question is, how careful do you need to be for tincture and infusion uses?

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My family had some excellent leftover bottles that I used to store this calendula in the photo.

What I mostly used was old vitamins jars and old spice and herb jars from the kitchen.  They are great!  Just wash them well.  Recycling is a huge PLUS!  In every way possible.

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All I did was label my jars with masking tape.

It is very important to label each jar even if you think you will remember what it is and how old it is!

Don’t crumble your herbs.  They retain more flavor, odor, value when left as whole leaves.  Crumbling can be done later when going to be used.

  • Uses:

There are many things you can do with your dried herbs!

Suggestions – 

  • Sachets – repel moths and mice (strong smelling herbs like rosemary, basil, mint)

put a sachet under your pillow or in your drawers for a pleasant aroma

  • Tea or infusion – of course!  There are so many combinations to try.  I have yet to make anything but mint so far, but I am so going to become more involved in making my own teas when the time is right.  
  • Facial toner – many herbs can help your skin

there is a pH balancing toner that I am going to try http://katienormalgirl.com/2011/10/04/homemade-easy-ph-balancing-facial-toner/ This gal has some incredible recipes and information.

  • Tinctures – I have not done this yet, but definitely will sometime.
  • Cooking – of course!

What else can you do with your dried herbs?  Any tips and suggestions?

What do you do to balance yourself, “nourish your roots”, stay positive etc?

Many blessings! Until next time

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