Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drying Up

or, Growing Your Own for back-to-basics food independence.

In what is already the beginning of our preparations for winter, we picked lemon balm, peppermint, and spearmint from our back yard and stuck the springs in the dehydrator for about twelve hours:

When the sprigs were dry, I pulled the leaves off the stems and piled them in an clean glass honey jar. It is about half full. After we fill it with another drying session, I'll put the jar in the basement until winter--a time when we will no longer have fresh herbs for our tea available just by opening the door.

Although the plant is very tiny at this point and not ready for any significant picking, we've just acquired stevia and look forward to using a few leaves to sweeten our fresh and dried herbal tea. Has anyone tried growing stevia? Any tips?


Carrie K said...

Wow, that's a lot of controversary over a little plant. I've never even heard of it! Let us know how it grows and just how sweet it really is. Sounds like it packs quite a punch.

Andrea's Recipes (Grow Your Own) said...

Drying herbs is a great way to preserve them! I have a stevia plant growing indoors since it's a tender perennial and probably wouldn't do well outdoors in this area. The leaves are very, very sweet. I've tried it in iced tea, but the leaves need heat to release their oils, so I think I think I'll try adding the leaves while the tea is hot, then removing them before chilling.

Thanks for sharing your post with Grow Your Own!

Sheepish Annie said...

I'm planning on drying herbs this summer, too! Of course, I don't have any outside growing space so there will only be the small harvest from my kitchen garden. But it's better than nothing, right?

Penny L. Richards said...

We were given a stevia plant as a gift, and put it in our kitchen window. It shot straight up--got much too tall for its pot and for the window in no time. There's probably a way to cut it so it grows more like a bush and less like a creeper, but that was my only experience with it. It was a lovely sweet leaf, though, and you are a much more experienced gardener, so I'm sure you'll do well with it.

Amy said...

I've grown stevia! It's nice--I've dried it and used the dried leaves, also I've made it into tincture--which I find to be much more convenient.

Cris said...

I never cared much for these dehydrators until now... :-)


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