Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.
Look What I Made: An Herb Drying Rack
by Sandra Bowens
I may be a fearless cook but when it comes to arts and crafts I am shy and nervous. As a gardener, I fall in between these two categories.
I had been knocking around the idea of drying herbs when I found myself with a bumper crop at the end of the growing season. Until recently I have dabbled in small-scale herb drying with good results but never anything one might call a "harvest."
And then I picked up the September 2005 issue of The Herb Companion and came across an article entitled "The Low-Tech Art of Drying Herbs." That sounded like just about my speed so I read on. The story contained good information about harvesting, drying and storing. It also included handy charts for which herbs are better dried by hanging bunches or as cut leaves on a screen.
What inspired me the most was the lead photograph of a rustic drying rack. Bundles of herbs were attached to a sturdy twig that was suspended from raffia. I decided to put the idea into action.
The process was simple. First, I made the rack by tying lengths of red raffia
(string or a thin rope would work well too) to either endof a stick that I found in the yard. At the center of the raffia, I wound another length of natural-colored raffia around several times to serve as a hanger. With advice from the article, I harvested big bunches of sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram and tarragon concentrating on getting good, strong stems. I stripped a few leaves from the bases, bunched them
together with a rubber band (another good idea from the article because it will constrict as the stems dry) and tied them to the branch/hanger with more raffia.
The whole project took less than an hour. Hanging in the shaded window of my laundry room, it looks so lovely. I smile every time I see it.
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