How to Harvest Fresh Herbs and other Helpful Tips
- Preserve the maximum flavor and color of homegrown herbs by cutting the plant on a sunny day after the dew is dried from the leaves.
- Wash herbs, if possible, before harvesting to preserve maximum amounts of the precious essential oil component of the leaves.
- Usually most herbs thrive when they are harvested multiple times or frequently harvested. Cut the herbs back in June or July by about half with scissors or a sharp knife and you may have another complete harvest to reap come Fall. In the Fall, herbs can be cut back to a few inches above the ground. Here is a delicious, easy, flavorful vinaigrette for seasonal salads:
- Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
- 1-2 cups packed, fresh basil leaves to taste.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¾ cup canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Whirl all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, about one minute. Store in a one pint jar.
Although fresh is always best, extra leaves and stalks can be dried. Freshly picked herbs should be used right away, or dried upside down in small bundles in a dark, dry place.
- Harvest herbs at peak flavor because it will surpass the dried herb in quality and flavor.
- When the herbs are thoroughly dry, 3-5 days up to two weeks, strip the leaves off the stalks and crush them to a fine texture to use in cooking. Tea leaves can be kept whole.
- A small jar of commercially dried herbs averages $6.00 for small containers. Think of the savings if you harvest more and the gifts you could make!
- Paonia Farm and Home has a huge assortment of containers for storing dried herbs, making herbal gifts and even herbal vinegars.
- Use herbs for flavor and reduce the need for salt and sugar! Allow the bounty of tasty herbs to encourage new creative and delicious cooking experiments. No more ho-hum dishes.
- Herbs provide can be used in tasty teas, or garnishes for other drinks.