THE MATURE HERB GARDEN'S BOUNTY
When we moved into our detached town home with a "postage size stamp lot" compared to the 2.5 acres we had in Virginia, we requested permission from the association for a small vegetable garden.
Each year since we have managed to raise in MN's short season tomatoes, green beans, melons, shallots, carrots, etc. This year we decided to convert the small space into an herb garden. We went on a hunt for varieties that are not just your run of the mill nursery offerings. We were fortunate and found scented geraniums, savory, stevia, lemon verbena, marjoram and the standards of basil, flat and curly parsley, oregano, dill and rosemary. These we added to our already existing perennials of chives, tarragon, lavender and sorrel. In an earlier post, there are photos of the young nursery finds just planted.
As August approached and there had been substantial growth, I started to plan to preserve the herbs. In years past I have made herbal olive oils, vinegars, pesto, herbal seasoning blends and butter mixtures.
Years ago on a visit to Jefferson's home, Monticello I purchased a small herb book "The Herbal Pantry". At the time the book sold for $18.00 and I hemmed and hawed about the price. I asked why so much for such a small book? The clerk answered that "everyone loves the book". Making that purchase has given me season after season of sheer delight. It is by and away my favorite preserving book. There is no end to the many varieties of cordials, jams, oils, vinegars, seasoning mixes, butters and on and on that one can make.
|Sage curly, parsley basil and stevia|
|Scented geraniums in pots along with prostrate rosemary I have manged to winter over in the pot for three years now.|
|French melons, small but oh!!! so sweet|
|our one and only pumpkin|
So here in the photos I have captured the mature garden, the drying and cleaning process. Sterile antique Ball jars line my kitchen table ready to be filled with each dried herb. This year I have decided to keep each dried herb separate without making seasoning blends. I have made herbal sugars with the scented geraniums and lavender. These will stand ready all winter for baking scones, muffins and cakes. Added to hot cereals and fresh fruit is just a delight too.
|Rosemary and savory tied to the drying rack|
|Tarragon. It grows like a bush here. Never had any success in VA because of the humidity.|
|Thyme drying on my baking cooling rack which lets the air circulate underneath|
|Sifting out the stems with my antique sifter. I sit on the covered front porch and then just sweep away that which does not make the bowl|
|Antique Ball jars|
|Here is my copy of the The Herbal Pantry by Emilie Tolley|
|Scented sugars with scented geranium leaves and lavender.|
I have citrus, rose lemon and orange scented geraniums