Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Harvest of Garden Herbs using a Microwave Oven

(Cathy) I love to cook. As a result I have amassed a large collection of spices and herbs. Many of the fresh herbs that I use come straight from my garden. Nothing beats their flavour in cooking! The main issue for me at the end of the growing season is what to do with all of the fresh herbs still thriving. Over the years my mom and I have tried both drying and freezing our bounty of herbs. We have not liked the result. The frozen herbs do retain their colour and flavour somewhat but they are soggy and are only good for soups or stews. As for drying we have tried both hanging the herbs in bunches and placing them in a single layer on old window screens. The window screen method did work out the best for us but takes up a lot of space and time.

In my garden I grow: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme; (anyone singing yet?), added to that is dill, mint, chives, cilantro and tarragon, oregano, bay laurel, basil and lemon thyme. Most of them are grown direct in the garden. The bay laurel, some basil and some rosemary are grown in pots which I can bring indoors for the winter. Over the years I have read many books and articles on the subject of drying and preserving herbs and one method has always piqued my interest: the use of the microwave oven for drying herbs. This year I turned to the trusty Internet to see what methods people prefer. There was an abundance of enthusiasm for the use of the microwave oven! I found one blog post that I really liked:

In her blog, Simple Daily Recipes, by Jill McKeever, she outlines step by step with photos the entire process start to finish. So, after reading Jill's post I went outside and started with my chives. Great success! I moved on to sage and I was off on a roll! The entire process takes little time and the result is so bright and fresh! 

I am so pleased with the result and look forward to enjoying my herb bounty all year long!


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