Drying Many foods from your garden harvest can be dried for stable storage. Herbs last particularly well in dry form and will save you a bundle compared to the store- bought version. For most common herbs such as parsley, mint, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary, hang them in loose bundles for a few weeks. Make sure they are completely dry, or they will mold. To store, crumble the leaves and place them in a jar. Dried herbs can be used in soups, breads, favorite recipes and even craft projects. Use your dehydrator or range oven on low temperature to dehydrate fruits like apples, bananas and mangos. You can also turn your prolific fruit harvest into fruit leather by cooking, pureeing and baking it for an extended time at a low temperature (you can find lots of recipes online).
For vinegar, pick the herb that matches your favorite marinade, salad dressing or sauce. Infuse the vinegar using the same process as the oils, and store the mixture in the refrigerator for up to six months. Alcohol can also be infused to create peach brandy, lavender lemon vodka or other favorites.
favorite essential oil, you can add it to the mix, as well.
If you’re growing herbs, you can use the plant for homemade hot or iced tea by drying the leaves of common varieties like mint, chamomile, dandelion, rose petals and hibiscus. Play with combinations for your favorite proprietary blend. Herb-infused oils and vinegars are another useful way to incorporate herbs into the kitchen or elsewhere in the home. Find a pretty jar, and stuff it with herbs. Then, add your favorite oil to make massage oils or flavored cooking oils. Allow the mixture to steep in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks, checking it every few days. Once it has the flavor and/or scent you are looking for, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. Label your oil and store for up to one year.
Get Baking When you’re done freezing,
While you likely planted a garden with the goal of putting food on the table, you can also use your harvest for gifts and household items like soap, heating pads and candles. Freshen up your drawers and cupboards with simple sachets. To make, cut squares of fabric, stuff with your favorite dried herbs and stitch or tie together. You can place herbs in a draw-stringmesh bag for a nearly-instant finish. If you have a
canning, pickling and infusing, get baking. Make pumpkin chocolate cookies, zucchini bread, and apple, pear, or carrot cake. Whip up some bread loaves loaded with roasted red peppers, garlic, and herbs. You can also pre-make pizza or flatbread topped with garden veggies. All of these options can be tightly wrapped and frozen for use later.
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