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How To Dry Herbs In The Oven.

My little herb garden has done really well this year. Especially the chocolate mint. . . . that stuff is practically trying to take over the whole bed. 

In fact, I’ve been using it as the background for a lot of product photos lately. . . . 

Herb Garden as background

I love using fresh herbs in soap making and DIY beauty treatments (like the rosemary ACV hair rinse here) and of course cooking, but sometimes you have to turn to dried herbs. And while, we haven’t had any really cold weather, yet, and the herb garden is still going strong for now, those frigid temps are on the way. But before it gets here, I wanted to dry some of the herbs.

Now, there are a few different ways to dry herbs. . . . there’s drying by bundling the herbs and letting them air dry over several days, oven drying them, and even microwaving. If you live in humid areas (like I do – even in the Fall, it’s still humid). then air drying is going to take a lot longer. So, for me, that means oven drying the herbs. 

How to

First, some tips that I have quickly learned:

Pick the herbs in the morning when the essential oils and flavors are stronger. 

If they need it, rinse them immediately. 

For smaller leafed herbs, wait until after they’re dry to pick them off the stems. It’s much easier and quicker.

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Preheat the oven to a very low temperature setting (under 200F degrees).

Spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet, making sure they’re not touching each other as it’ll take longer to dry if they are.

Place in the oven, leaving the door cracked. Leaving the door cracked ensures that they dry instead of bake. 

After about 20 to 30 minutes, check the herbs. When they’re through drying, the leaves will crumble in your fingers. If they need longer to dry, leave them and recheck them every 10 minutes. 

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I dried my basil and chocolate mint with the oven at 180F degrees, and it took about 30 – 50 minutes in all for each batch. 

Store whole or ground in a jar. 

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My favorite thing. . .

. . . about this time of the year? One word.

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Jasmine.

The Jasmine vine that drapes over the fence that runs beside the county road is full of little white blooms and is scenting the air with its perfume.

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I love this stuff so much, that around this time every year, I start thinking about jasmine scented soap. I have’t made one, yet, but one day!

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Blinking.

Sometimes, it seems like if you blink around here, it’s instantly a new season. 

Winter has come and gone. Trees are no longer bare and are bursting with life.

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Flowers are blooming. Bees are buzzing.

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Peach trees are weeping. Did you know there are weeping peach trees? I sure didn’t. 

IMG_3640The blueberry plants are blossoming. 

I went a little blueberry mad last year and added three more. That means I now have a total of six blueberry plants. Count ’em, six!

In other words, one day I’m going to have blueberries coming out of my ears. I foresee a lot of blueberry desserts in this girl’s future. 

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The Monster Papaya Revisited.

Remember The Monster Papaya from a couple of months ago?

The Monster Papaya Revisited 

It is truly monster-ish now.  Knowing virtually nothing about papayas trees, I did a little Google consultation. 

And according to ye olde Google, papayas can be harvested once 20 – 33% of the fruit’s skin has turned yellow. For the best taste, they should be 80% yellow. 

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Yeah. Those are definitely still very much green. 

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The Monster Papaya.

You read that right, and it is definitely a monster of a papaya tree.

I bought this cute little plant (barely a foot tall in height at the time) off the clearance shelf back in May. Three bucks – uh-uh, no way I was gonna pass that up! If you’ve read this blog long, then you know I’m all about a good clearance sale.

So, I brought it home (along with a few other clearance plants. . . . okay, more like ten. Ish.) and planted it at the very edge of our hillside close to the waterfowl breeding pens thinking, ‘Well, putting it here, maybe it’ll help a little with the erosion.’ Because erosion has been the buzzword this year on our farm.

Living on a hill is good for some things (like, say, if you’re worried about flooding), but it’s not good if you have what seems like, literally, a 1000 springs on your scant six acres of property. Those two things do not always mix well. In fact, they can be downright nightmarish.

But enough about my nightmares and back to The Monster Papaya. Which just sounds nightmarish. It’s actually not.

My tiny, lil old papaya plant has taken on a life of its own and is now almost as tall as I am (and this girl is about 5’11”). And I swear to you, every time I look at it, it’s bigger. Really, it is.

 

But I suspect, it’s not down to some radiation inspired Hulk-like growth or anything else of that nature. Or let’s hope not. No, it’s probably the rich fertilizer from the waterfowl that has lead to such a huge growth spurt.

And do you know what, it’s just loaded with little papayas.

Now, before I sign off, I have a little confession to make. . . . I don’t even really like papayas. :/

Huh, maybe that’s the nightmarish part this post. All those papayas. What am I gonna do? :/ Hmm.