Growing & storing your own herbs

It’s a lot easier than you might think. Every year I grow a variety of herbs in an old wine box that someone left behind and harvest them for Winter as well as using them in my cooking all Summer.

I have a lot to say on the subject of growing herbs but suffice to say: Basil, sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives are all ones I grow annually. There is nothing like the taste of herbs just harvested from your garden. You can grow them in a pot (grow mint in its own pot, it’s invasive and will take over wherever you plant it) or in a box or in the ground. They generally like a good amount of sun and to be watered regularly so the soil is damp but not wet. I get a lot of sun on our terrace right now so when the weather is hot, I water daily.  For those who have partial shade, you can water less.

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Herb box: parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme.

Harvest as the plant begins to thrive. Harvest small parts of the plant or larger leaves leaving the majority intact and happy to continue performing photosynthesis, producing more herbs for you.

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This is my sage plant right after I harvested a lot of leaves.

I tried storing my herbs in small ziploc baggies in the freezer and found this system frustrating. You can’t tell which bag is which until you wrestle them all out and look at the labels. I finally figured out what works best for me – old ice cream/gelato containers washed & dried with food labels. I harvest the herbs and store them in an ice cream pint with a screw on lid in the freezer. I can see which container has which herb immediately and it allows for quite a lot of herb per container.

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Chives, chopped & ready to freeze.

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Whole sage leaves ready to freeze.

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Thyme after I’d stripped the largest stems, ready to freeze.

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Some herbs I might leave intact without chopping – basil, sage. They are heartier and will come out of the freezer ready to chop, if that’s what I want. Others I chop as I harvest so they are ready to add to sauces or sprinkle on top of a dish: parsley, chives, thyme. Thyme is the trickiest to harvest. I drag the little leaves off of the largest stems, taking small new stems with them, and put those in a container.

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I hope you give this a try. It’s fun!

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Catnip, left, and chives, right.

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This entry was published on July 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm. It’s filed under gardening, herbs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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