This post is more a reminder than anything else. Summer is coming to an end (thank goodness!!) and it is time to preserve those herbs you have been growing all season. If you are like me, you would have barely made a dent in them. A litte snip here and a little snip there doesn’t use much.
But drying them is another story. A big bunch will dry down to a small jar which should last you until next summer’s fresh ones are flourishing.
Mixed herbs (sometimes called Italian blend) is a very common herb mix in Australia (I am not certain about other cultures.) I expect there is a little jar of it in most Australian households, even (or especially) where there is no avid cook. We tend to sprinkle it in, or on, anything vaguely Italian: Bolognese sauces, pasta dishes, pizzas, etc. I have heard Italians complain that a typical Australian Bolognese sauce is much more herbie than an authentic Italian equivalent. I guess we just like our mixed herbs.
This year I grew sage, thyme, basil and oregano and I have rosemary galore. So I decided to make some mixed herbs. I know I should have had marjoram but I didn’t think that far ahead when I was planting them:( Maybe I will add some dry marjoram later. I didn’t add garlic because I prefer to add that fresh.
I just grabbed a handful of each herb, gave them a wash and a shake and put them in my dehydrator. The next day, when they were all dry and brittle (they dried at different rates, therefore, I just took them out when each variety was ready), I crunched them up with my hands, put them through a very coarse plastic strainer and discarded the stems. The above bunch made two small jars (one for each house).
4 parts basil
3 parts thyme
2 parts marjoram
2 parts oregano
1 part sage
1 part garlic flakes
1 part rosemary
A long as you use the same size utensil for all your measurements, ie, a teaspoon, tablespoon, etc, you will be in business.
I have also started to dry my herbs separately. It was the basil and the oregano’s turn this week. Next week, it will be thyme and sage.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to use a dehydrator. The sun is traditional but also consider a fan forced oven (with only the fan on) or on the back window ledge of a car parked in the sun.