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Harvesting And Preserving Spice Plants

Without a doubt, nothing beats fresh herbs, as they give many dishes their typical taste. In order to be able to season dishes with fragrant plants during the winter months, they have to be preserved. With our tips, the full aroma is retained.

When is harvested?

Harvest timing depends on the species as well as the climatic conditions of the region you live in. The aroma of most aromatic plants is most intense just before flowering. Harvest on a sunny morning, because that’s when herbs are at their best.

Edible flowers, such as chamomile, borage, or marigold, are plucked off when they are fully open.

On the other hand, rainy, damp days are unsuitable for harvesting. Wetness noticeably reduces the quality, which you can clearly smell when you break off a shoot.

How is it harvested correctly?

Separate the plant parts with a clean, sharp garden or kitchen knife. About half of the leaves should remain on the plant so that it can regenerate quickly.

Drying herbs

Drying can be used to preserve aromatic and medicinal herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or peppermint, along with their valuable ingredients.

  • With large-leaved species such as laurel, pick off the leaves and then spread them out on a kiln. Wooden frames with gauze covering are suitable for this.
  • The stalks of small-leaved spice plants are tied together and hung upside down in an airy and dark place. Once the herbs feel completely dry, strip them off the stems.

Put the dried leaves in screw-top brown jars and seal them tightly.

Preserve by freezing or pickling

It is better to freeze basil, parsley, dill, chervil, chives, and other herbs that have very soft leaves. After washing and gently patting dry, the herbs are finely chopped. Then fill this into the compartments of an ice cube maker and pour on some water.

For use, you can take one cube at a time and put it directly on the food. Preserved in this way, sensitive herbs can last for months.

A tried and tested method is pickling in salt. In order to effectively prevent the growth of food-spoiling microorganisms, the following apply Lots of salt and few herbs. Cut the herbs into small pieces, mix them with the salt and fill the herb salt into tightly fitting glasses.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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