Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Time to Harvest the Herbs

With the temps outside dipping below freezing, it's time to harvest our herbs from the garden. A little past time, actually, but I was a little slow this year. It seemed like the cold weather sort of snuck up on us! One day we were outside in just our shirt sleeves, and the next day they were predicting frost. We even had a little bit of snow this past Sunday! Since I didn't have time to harvest then, I just draped some tablecloths over the herbs to protect them until I could bring them in. This morning I finally got out there, and cut a whole bunch of herbs... rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon balm and sage. They've all been trimmed and rinsed, "yucky" leaves discarded, and are currently spread out on towels on the counter, ready to be bundled up and hung to dry for our winter enjoyment. Later I'll go out to get the chives, mints and catnip. The last of the lavender came in a few weeks ago, and the last of the basil has already been turned into pesto, which is in the freezer, ready for our pastas and pizzas over the winter.

We use our herbs for so much more than culinary purposes. While I do love the delicious flavor my herbs add to my cooking, we also use herbs for medicinal purposes. Peppermint, spearmint and lemon balm make a nice tea to soothe tummies and aid digestion. I love to have a cup of this tea after dinner. When you've got a cold, tea made from thyme with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of raw, local honey is great for soothing coughs and sore throats. A rosemary rinse in your hair after washing is great for soothing a dry itchy scalp, and is even said to promote hair growth. No matter the ailment, chances are there is an herbal remedy to soothe it.

And finally... we'll also be reserving some for some herb crafts: smudge sticks, wreaths and fire bundles. But first, I'm going to sit with a cup of peppermint tea and enjoy the wonderful herbal smells wafting though our home.

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