Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to dry herbs

I've got tons of fresh parsley growing in the garden that I just can't keep up with.  The kids are getting pretty fed up as well, after all, who wouldn't want their peanut butter and jelly sandwich garnished with a little sprig of parsley?   I listened to a Gardenfork podcast episode in which they demonstrated how to dry your own herbs.

As I was making Sunday Sauce today while watching the Daytona 500, I brought in some of the parsley to add to the meatballs.  Having a bunch left over, I decide to give the drying process a try.   This works well with basil and oregano as well.

After washing the leaves, cut or rip them from the stems and spread out on a piece of wax paper.  Put them into the microwave and cook on high for 50 seconds.  Open the door and give them a little stir and then microwave a second time for 40 seconds.   You might have to experiment with the times depending on your microwave.  You may hear some popping or crackling while they cook, but that's normal.  At this point, all of the moisture in the leaves should be gone and the leaves will be nice and brittle. You can crush them in a mortar and pestle, or just rub them in your hand to get the desired texture. 

As you can see in the pictures, the herbs maintain their original color.

Fresh parsley after drying and crushing

Quite a contrast from the store-bought

This process also works well with fresh bay leaves.   Since I cook alot of Italian food, I go through  a bit of bay.  I came across a bay laurel plant at the local nursery last fall and snatched it up. 

Bay leaves.  The fresh ones are on top

  The whole process took 10 minutes at best.  Easy stuff.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Given the rodent problems I experience each year, I've decided to switch to the big guns.

Sager Hawk

Eagle owl

Actually, a friend's neighbor is an exotic birds handler/trainer and is in the movie business.  He has numerous trained raptors at his home and he was kind enough to show us his beautiful birds.  The vulture, Dexter, is the third largest flying bird in the world, and has an 8 foot wingspan!  He's been in several movies including the last Indiana Jones release.

Now if I can only get them to swing by the house,,,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Random thought

Should I be embarrassed that I woke up this morning and actually got excited about heading out to my local nursery to listen to an hour-long lecture on Organic Vegetable Gardening?  Geek that I am, I did just that.  The representative from EB Stone organics put on an informative presentation complete with coupons for fertilizers at a substantial savings.  I stocked up for the upcoming season and it was nice to revisit some of the concepts I've been through before, but somehow forgot to employ along the way.

Funny, I couldn't get the kids to tag along.