Thursday, 18 June 2009

Drying herbs for winter

I have to admit mixed success with growing and eating vegetables. This is probably down to too-high expectations of fabulous flavours from your own home grown produce. In reality, the vegetables often taste the same as those you buy in the shops - I suppose it's obvious really!

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Sweetcorn and peas were both well worth trying straight from the plant. Delicious. Carrots were fantastic fun to pull up and eat. An endless supply of fresh tomatoes and salad is well worth the effort. One of my crops of potatoes had a great flavour. And even saying all of this, I have managed to get the girls to try stuff on the allotment that they won't eat from the fridge. Their usually sweet tooth is tempted by fairly tart strawberries and blackberries that they just wouldn't eat in our kitchen.

But it has been worth having the allotment for herbs alone. We have endless supplies of thyme, rosemary, french tarragon, mint, bay leaves and sage. We may not have the rich soil to grow exceptionally tasty veg, but the same soil makes perfect growing conditions for most mediterranean plants. During the summer, these herbs can be picked on the day you need them, ensuring complete freshness. However, it seems like a waste to leave all the leaves on the plants, knowing full well that as soon as it gets colder, the leaves will all drop off.

So I have harvested and dried some of them, for use during winter. It is always nice to have an abundance of herbs to put in cooking.

Bless her, Eden was really pleased when the herbs appeared in the jars. "I wondered what they were for" she said.


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