harvesting herbs

Discussion in 'Herb Gardening' started by AAnightowl, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. AAnightowl

    AAnightowl Young Pine

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    I have a lot of herbs growing this year, and they are supposed to be perennials. I hope so!

    I have some thyme with white around the edge of the leaves.

    I have some oregano, at least one kind.

    I have some rosemary.

    I have some parsely still in the starter cells. I hope to get some tubs to put it in shortly. That is not yet ready to pick.

    I think I have some sage growing also. I know I have some blue sage, and some red sage. The red sage is still seedlings, and kind of pokey. The blue sage is done blooming already. If I cut the spent flowers, will it bloom again? I might have some other sage, but not sure. I planted something and it is growing in a tub, but I forgot what. :rolleyes:

    I have some more mint planted, but it is still adjusting to being moved.

    So, how do I know when it is big enough to harvest?

    Any ideas on drying/preserving it for later?
     
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  3. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    When I trim my herbs I'll hang them up in bunches in a cool dry place away from the sun. When they are dry enough, the leaves are removed and bottled.

    When I harvest them, I'll pick out the leaves from the stem wash and dry them with a dry cloth. They have to be as dry as possible put them in a container and deep freeze them.

    I do this for rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and basil. Others I have no experience yet.

    Good luck and enjoy.
     
  4. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    I harvest my herbs and toss each variety in a paper bag to dry. I leave the bag open in a warm spot away from the sun. When the herbs are dry and a little crunchy to the touch I strip the leaves and flowers from the stems. (Commercial herbs often grind up the stems too). I leave the leaves and flowers to dry a few days longer. I then put them in screw top jars or plastic baggies. They keep well for a year or more if kept out of light and are far superior to store bought.
     
  5. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Keep the flowers pinched off unless you are using them for the beneficial insects as food, allowing them to reseed or collecting the seeds. They will drain the plant of the flavanoids (or whatever makes the flavors pop in your palate) and your herbs will be bland nor will the plants look nice. It takes a lot of energy to produce seeds.
    I use a food dehydrator to dry what ever I have pinched or trimmed, I do this in the early morning when the herbs have the most flavor in them.


    if you are saving tiny quantities you can put them in an icecube tray and fill with water. as soon as they are frozen put them in a freezer bag and label them so you know what they are later. This is great for soup or stew in the wintertime.
     
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  6. petunia

    petunia Young Pine

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    Carolyn, as I read your post I was thinking about dehydrating. Has anyone else done any dehydrating with herbs? I have many herbs also. peppermint, spearimint, lemon, orageno, sage, parsely, I think I've heard that bee balm is also an herb.
     
  7. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    You mention red sage and blue sage, do you know which species they are. Salvia splendens - Scarlet Sage is typically an annual, it can also be found in blue, white and purple.
    Salvia officinalis is culinary sage.
    Salvia elegans - Pineapple Sage, it's leaves and flowers are edible.

    Some perennial Salvias are usually grown only as ornamental plants. Some are grown for medicinal use or for their essential oil but generally are not edible. The Salvias I have are all perennial ornamental plants.

    There are also plants with Sage in their name that are not Salvias. If you have some make sure they are edible before harvesting.
     
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  8. Donna S

    Donna S Hardy Maple

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    `Petunia, I also dry my herbs with a dehydrator. It's very easy to do. I bottle them and use for Christmas gifts. I use parchment paper between different trays of herbs if I have more then one kind to dry.
     
  9. AAnightowl

    AAnightowl Young Pine

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    My sage might be the ornamental types, not sure. I will look for some that is for cooking use.

    Bee Balm is in the mint family, and around here its common name is horsemint. It is also called Bergamot, not sure if that is a scientific or common name though. I have loads of it growing wild, and have planted some in my flower beds.
     
  10. AAnightowl

    AAnightowl Young Pine

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    What I forgot to mention about my sage, is that I frequently trade plants and seeds with various friends locally and on the net. Not all of them know the scientific names of things [including me], so I go by whatever names I am given on stuff until I learn their proper names.

    When I first moved here, there were lovely lavender flowers that sprouted and bloomed on their own all over the place. I did not know their names, so I called them "volunteers". Later someone told me they were "wild purple phlox", so I called them that for many years. A few years ago, I found out they are actually Dame's Rockets, and not at all related to phlox. Whatever they are called, I like them just the same. I was able to check it out on the web, and they are Dame's Rockets. And I have phlox too. :)
     
  11. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Monarda didyma....aka Bergamot, Oswego tea, Bee Balm...all the same plant.

    Monarda citriodora...aka Horsemint, Spotted Bee Balm. It has a lemony scent.

    Be careful about eating plants whose true name you do not know, it could make you very ill or kill you.
     
  12. AAnightowl

    AAnightowl Young Pine

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    I have no intentions of eating/drinking from my horsemint/bee balm/bergamot/whatever. The bees and butterflies go nutso over it, and I have it for them. I have spearmint and peppermint if I want any mint. Or I buy it.

    If you don't know the difference between Queen Anne's Lace and poison hemlock, you will be dead quickly, and no one can help you.

    I never eat/drink from any unfamiliar plant, and even many familiar ones. I have tons of allergies, and I am very sparing on what plants and herbs I use.

    There are enough species of plants to keep anyone learning their whole life.
     
  13. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Hi AAnightowl--Yes, Dames Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) does look like phlox. Around here it is called "the phlox of the spring" because it blooms early & passes before the real phlox flowers. It is very pretty isn't it? It will often grow wild along the roads or bike paths here in MA.
     
  14. AAnightowl

    AAnightowl Young Pine

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    Dames Rockets grow wild around here in many places too. They are so pretty.

    I found the envelope from my red sage. It is called "Red Lady Salvia". I guess I can pinch the seed pods from my blue sage, and see if it will rebloom for a picture? I keep forgetting to take its picture when it is in bloom. It is not the Russian blue sage, at least I dont think it is.
     
  15. AvaRose82

    AvaRose82 Seedling

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    I typically freeze or dry my herbs, but I did see something interesting recently. They put the herbs in ice cube trays with some olive oil and stuck that in the freezer, which seems like a creative idea.

    Here's a page I found on it:
    http://www.thekitchn.com/freeze-herbs-i ... oil-173648
     
  16. AAnightowl

    AAnightowl Young Pine

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    That is interesting AvaRose.

    If I pinch some for saving over the winter now, will they still have time to bloom before cold weather also ? I would like to have some to use, and have them bloom also.
     

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