Drying herbs

I've been away from my own home for so long this year and I missed making food from what I can grow on our small piece of land or buy fresh at the local markets. 

When i came back, my herb garden was definitely in need of some attention.  Some of my herbs had been crowded out by weeds, some had gotten spindly for lack of pruning, but others had absolutely exploded.  With these, it was the perfect opportunity to harvest a little crop and dry the herbs for future use.  There were other bundles of herbs I had hung to dry before I left and they were now finished and ready to use.

I simply cut off trimmings of my herbs, wash them thoroughly, tie the ends together with a rubber band, and hang them at the top of one of our cabinets, where it is cool and they get good air circulation.  When they are dry and brittle, I take the leaves off the stems, crush them into smaller pieces, and place them in containers until I need them in a recipe.

It's always a lovely feeling to cook with something I grew and processed myself, and drying herbs is such a simple way to do that.

Fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano, and lavender

Dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, and lavendar

Herbs hanging to dry

Dried oregano and sage

Sage bundle

P.S. My husband and I have an ongoing argument about how to pronounce "herb."  Is the "H" silent or not?

A cup of tea

One of my favorite things in the whole world is to sit with a friend and chat over a steaming cup - a simple, but always deeply gratifying time.  From tea parties with my niece to sipping tea with Bedouin men in Jordanian desert, I have many memories made over hot water and herbs. I've since experimented with a few different blends from my own herbs and from other spices.  Here are some of my favorites:

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Starting an herb garden

Although I've made my fair share of mistakes, I have found herbs easy enough to grow and way more rewarding than I had predicted.  I kept adding more plants whenever I could find the starters, and now my herb garden is one of my favorite parts of my home.  I really love being able to use fresh herbs in my own cooking while also learning how other cultures use spices and herbs.

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