Freezing and Preserving the Harvest

Herbs and Tomatoes!

Herbs and tomatoes? Yes! In our gardens, it's harvest time for both, so why not combine them! 

My gardens are exploding with basils, parsley, mint, lemon verbena, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, chives, dill, marjoram... and since I make teas and other herbal products, staying on top of cutting and drying them can be a challenge - especially in this humidity. In the cooler weather, my favorite method of drying herbs is to make small bundles, hang them upside down on my back porch, (it's enclosed) and then gently transfer them to labeled jars. The key is to pick a warm, dry, airy place to hang them. A few notes on this method - first, don't forget about them and let them get dusty, and second - find a labeling system that works for you so that when they are dry, you know what you have. When I first started my herbal journey, I figured I'd either know or remember what they were...  some herbs are easy to ID when dried but others are very simiilar looking, and when you have dozens and dozens of them hanging upside down - well - find a way to label them. Trust me. 

This summer it seems that we will never get away from this humidity so I've been drying them in my oven. I set it on the lowest temperature, place my herbs on cookie sheets, and pop them in with the oven door cracked open (and the AC blasting). This method is really fast and if you are on top if it, you can switch out cookie sheets and jar herbs pretty quickly! 

As far as freezing them, parsley is a good one to try. I just wash it, let it dry, and roll it up in a Ziploc and stick it in the freezer! You can then use it in soups, sauté's, dressings, and dips! 


TOMATOES

Let me start by saying that I don't can. It seems a little crazy that I don't, but it freaks me out for personal reasons so I've found many ways around it, and have been able to stock my freezer just as well!