The summer garden is lush and full, and so are the herbs.
Don’t miss out on all the fragrance, flavor and healing qualities from fresh harvested herbs. Here are a few tips to remember:
~Do not cut more than one-third off of leafy perennials.
~Leave at least 6 inches or a minimum of half the plant on leafy annuals.
~Don’t pluck or pull herb plants, use scissors to cut the plants cleanly without damaging them.
~Use fresh cuts right away or place cut stems in a clean glass jar filled with fresh water (just like you do with fresh-cut flower bouquets.) Keep in the fridge, your “herb bouquet” should last up to a week.
Get to know your herbs and what part of the plant you use.
Leaves: Basil, mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, parsley, sage, thyme, chives.
Flowers: Borage petals, calendula, chamomile, chives, bee balm petals, lavender, rose petals. Seeds: Dill, cilantro (coriander),
How to harvest:
Leaves: Young leaves have the highest amount of flavor and fragrance, so harvest these as needed. Most plants have a flush of green just before they flower. Cut and harvest them so the oils will not be lost to the flowers.
Flowers: Harvest just as the plant begins to flower and cut no later than its peak of flowering or the look and taste will fade.
Seeds: Pick just before they fully ripen, cut the stalks and tie into bundles. Invert inside a brown paper bag and hang. As the seeds dry, they will fall into the bag to can be shaken to loosen them in the bag.
…and be sure to take the time to enjoy nature’s aromatherapy while you are harvesting!