Capturing Summer’s Flavor

Fresh fragrant rosemary drying in my dining room

It has been so nice to have fresh herbs all summer: parsley, basil, rosemary . . . I didn’t want to part with them. So I dug up my rosemary plant and brought it inside. We’ll see if it likes that or not. The rest of the herbs, I cut and hung to dry.

It is amazing how potent and delicious homegrown herbs are! They capture summer’s flavor, and I know I’ll love that basil in a pasta dish in January. Preparing your own culinary herbs is a snap. Here’s how:

1) Pick your herbs, preferably several long stems. (There is an ideal cutting time, but suffice it to say, if you can get out to the garden and get them cut, you’ve done good!)

2) If they look fairly clean, just go on to step 3. If not, rinse and shake well. Lay on your empty dish drain rack to drip dry.

3) Gather the dry stems into a bunch no bigger than an inch across. If you get too big of a bundle, the inside will mold. I’ve never had it happen, but keep the bundles smaller just in case.

4) Put a thin rubber-band around the bundle. (Thin rubber-band so the herbs gets maximum air exposure.)

5) Secure a twistie or a paperclip onto the rubberband to make a hanging hook for the push pin.

6) Hang from your ceiling in a dry, warm place—not in the sun.

7) Leave for several days, or longer. Crumble the brittle leaves, keeping the stems out of the leaves. I just leave the rubber-band on and squeeze and the stems stay connected and the leaves all fall off. Rub them to break them smaller.

8) Store in a recycled spice bottle. Label. This one says: “Parsley, 2009 Garden”

You’ve got yourself a strong, fragrant, delicious capture of summer!

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