drying herbs for tea

Some herbs are growing wild, it’s time to tame them back.

Just before my stash of tea runs out, I finally took a moment to prune back some of my potted herbs that are growing all too wildly. I planted several pots of tarragon and water mint a few months back hoping to give them away come Christmas time but now they’re way too big for their pots. And there’s still a hundred days more before yule. In the middle of the night, before my favorite TV show starts, I got hold of Turo’s pruning shears and trimmed the plants. My golden rule for pruning herbs is to cut back the plant by as much as two-thirds or until a couple nodes remain on each stem. Then I shower them with much affection, top-dressing with as much vermicast as there is within my reach.

These are water mint leaves. Mint plants are great because they grow well by themselves requiring little care. Be careful though because they grow too easily, they can start invading your other plants. It is best to grow them in potted containers so they don’t do much harm.

These are tarragon leaves. I love using tarragon while roasting chicken. Or cut them up finely and mix with butter for a fragrant spread. Some steep them as tea. I’m curious how it tastes this way so I’m giving it a try once they’re completely dry.

I dry herbs by air drying. We have very hot and dry weather here in Los Banos that is just perfect for air drying. I place them in paper-lined baskets and hang them. Once they get crumbly, they’re good and dry. I store them in airtight containers for cooking or steeping any time.

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