Want to concentrate herbal flavor, dry it!

by | Mar 22, 2013 | Ben and Lisa | 0 comments

It may sound antithetical, but with a few exceptions, drying herbs enhances and concentrates flavor! Essential oils and aromatic chemicals in your herbs give them their flavor. Tiny cell pockets and sometimes capsules or nodules on the leaf, bloom or stem material hold these active chemical and flavor components. Think of the tiny teardrop dots on the undersides of the leaves of true St. John's Wort that hold hypericum's active ingredient!

Drying tightens these natural “pockets” and encapsulates the chemicals and oils. Drying may be accomplished with or without heat. Air drying on screens designated for that purpose is our preferred method. Heat causes plant material change that reduces color. Heat changes some properties of the plant chemicals and actually releases many aromatic oils right into the air! Dehydration at low temperatures is the next most favored method for us, though we seldom require it. Drying

How do you prep for drying? Gently and quickly wash herbal leafy matter, leaving a little stem when possible. Use a salad spinner and paper towels to reduce water and generally keep water exposures brief. Place on clean non-metal screening material in a clean room with air circulation above and below your plant material. Crowding causes Screaming!! For best air circulation, herb stems and pieces should not overlap one another on the rack. Give the babies a little space!

Oregano, mints and sorrel dry in just two to three days for us. Woodier herbs like thyme and rosemary, along with lavender, require more time as their cell structures and stem material are thicker. Leave these for a week or so until you can pluck a dry leaf piece without a lot of effort and the stem material has a dry outer “feel.”

Remember, many herbs are enhanced with drying, and fresh, air-dried herbs are super healthful! Why use the two-year-olds from the grocery store when you can dry your own?

Happy Spring! See ya soon.

UPCOMING 5 FARM TOUR __ SEE EVENTS! augustalocallygrown.org for information regarding tour on May 18th! White Hills Lavender and Herb Farm will be first stop on the TOUR!!

Lavendula Angustifolia, culinary, organically grown!

Lavendula Angustifolia, culinary, organically grown!

Heavenly!

Sitting on the porch that is the definition of home-grown comfort, Amy brought out a dish of pecans to snack on with our lavender iced tea. The pecans were sweet with a hint of salt and ... smoked! (Patrick throws a lot of stuff on the grill and in the smoker and the results are always spectacular.) The pecans were like heaven.

Between the lavender everywhere, the porch, the view, the company, and the pecans, we might just as well have been in heaven.

Jan Perry

You'll want to go back again and again!

Among the gardens and 100-year-old farm house is a picturesque red barn where Amy and Patrick not only sell their merchandise but also entertain and/or put on workshops. I have had the pleasure of attending several of these events ranging from cookie making, to lavender harvesting and arranging, to yoga classes.

I am always looking for what they have available because once you experience the sheer beauty and peaceful feel of White Hills Farm you too will want to go back again and again.

Audrey Doyle

For me, it's a place tied to fond memories

White Hills Farm is the perfect backdrop for any occasion -- it has this way of enveloping and elevating meaningful celebrations. For me, it's a place tied to fond memories and an eagerness to return. Year round, its something to behold, a slice of heaven run by the best of people.

Allison Vrtachnik