Hi eKa CIRCLE
I was just reflecting on the lack of green in my garden this winter. Most of my herbs have really struggled with a few cold frosts recently. I wanted to talk about the importance of gathering while the herbs are abundant. Dry them for seasons where pickings are slim. Of course you can dehydrate most anything and there are a few ways to do it.
- Herbs are picked at optimum pungency, so that means they have the best properties. Always gather in the morning early before the sun is too high. Pick the herbs just before they go to seed.
- No waste/ budget friendly. You can also dehydrate the seeds to plant seedlings for the next year.
- You can share excess with friends and family.
- Home grown is always the healthiest; it is always better to choose produce that is home grown or grown locally.
- Extra herbs can be used as herbal teas and to make home made products.
- You will be able to stock your pantry for colder months using recycled airtight jars
So pick, wash and pat dry. Remove any damaged leaves and check for little insects. Your herbs will be dry when they are crisp and crumble when touched. Store in airtight jars, label and keep them out of the light. Most dried herbs will keep for a year or more and can be used in all sorts of recipes. I have included three super easy recipes below that I have made using my dehydrated herbs in the last few days. Of course if you don’t yet have dried herbs, garlic and chilli you can substitute fresh. Try experimenting with sliced fruit and some veg. Things like citrus peel can be rescued and saved by dehydrating. I dehydrate and blitz in a spice grinder or blender to use in bath salts- see my orange rosemary bath salts recipe and other cleaning products. Use your imagination to save what you might often throw out.
Types of dehydrating:
- Sun drying use racks that allow for a good and even air flow; rotate as often as you feel prompted to. This method is not recommended for delicate herbs and greens.
- Air drying- tie the herbs up in small bunches and hang in the shade in a breezy spot.
- Oven drying- use the lowest temperature, leave the door ajar with a wooden spoon to prop open and spread the herbs out on large baking sheets. Some recommend a microwave method this would not be my first preference.
- Electric Dehydrating- this is my preference. They are a great investment if you want to be serious about no food wastage. The trays that stack allow you to dry quite a few things at once which is great. Fast and effective.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp of dehydrated garlic slices
1 tsp dehydrated red chilli, crushed
1 tsp dehydrated oregano, crumbled
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp of dehydrated lemon rind strips
1 tomato, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
handful of fresh garden greens, I used silverbeet and bok choy, roughly chopped
Heat the oil and saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic, chilli, oregano and cumin. Toss over the heat for a minute and add the lemon rind, tomato and lentils cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens and cook until just wilted. I served mine with some leftover rice.
Winter Veg Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp dehydrated garlic blended into a powder
2 tsp dehydrated thyme leaves
2 Tbsp dehydrated parsley, crumpled
3 dehydrated bay leaves
2 potatoes, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup dried soup mix with barley
2 litres or water or stock
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup finely sliced cabbage
Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaves; toss over the heat for a minute. Add the potato, carrot, celery, tomato and soup mix and cover with water or stock. Bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes until the soup mix is just tender. Add the cauliflower and the cabbage and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Any winter veg would work in this recipe such as pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip or turnip.
Tofu & Veg Stir Fry
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, sliced
2 tsp of dehydrated sliced garlic
1 tsp dehydrated mint, crumbled
1 tsp dehydrated red chilli crushed
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 pkt of cooked tofu, sliced
100 g fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup of your favourite sauce, I used mushroom soy (oyster, salty soy bean, tamari, plum or any stir fry sauce would work)
Heat the oil in a wok, stir fry the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic, mint and chilli and toss over the heat until just fragrant. Add the capsium, broccoli and tofu. Stir fry for a few minutes until tender crisp. Add the mushrooms and the sauce toss over the heat for a minute. Season with white pepper- no salt necessary as the sauce is salty enough.
To read a little more on herbs please see these earlier posts the priestline & the herbs and antibacterial herbs
love & light
M + E
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