While I am working on very large sewing project, I haven’t had a lot of finished projects to show you. However, I did manage to find some time to harvest an early bounty from my garden and porch planter. This is just the beginning of the growing season and I am hoping for many more home-grown foods to come. For starters, my fennel plant is a beast and it needed to be trimmed back. For those of you who are not familiar with fennel, it is a wispy green spice used in Mediterranean dishes. Fresh it has a strong earthy flavor but dried the taste is greatly diminished.
Still, I had more fresh to cut than I could use quickly, so some would need to be dried, and I will likely need to dry more later in the season as well. The other reason for drying the fennel and my other ready to harvest herbs (thyme and chives) is that the boyfriend is away and I wanted to send him some.
Oven drying my herbs was the fastest and easiest method available to me, and would guarantee that I wouldn’t lose any of the crop to mold or mildew. It’s been very humid here lately and I didn’t want to chance it with the paper bags! With oven set to the lowest setting, and the door left open, I spread washed and cut herbs in a thin layer on a baking sheet, and “baked” (again, the over door was open) for about 15 minutes per sheet, checking every five minutes.
Oven drying should not cause much color change in the herb. If they turn brown or black, you’ve burnt them. The herbs should stay green but become brittle to the touch. Freshly dried herbs should be stored in an air-tight container like a jar or plastic bottle with a lid. I only stored them in plastic bags because I planned to ship them, but plastic bags are more difficult to dispense the herbs from because they stick to the bag! So do as I say, not as I do!