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Processing Herbs From Our Homestead For Winter Use

Processing Herbs For Winter Use

Simple Herb Preservation Method



This fall we harvested a whole mess of herbs from our herb gardens. We cut the plants down to about 2 inches from the ground so we could put straw down to protect the plants from the harsh winter months to come.


This left us with large boxes full of herbs. We got peppermint, catmint, oregano, thyme, lemon mint, skulcap and tarragon. The mint plants were bushed out nicely and we got a lot of them.


Huge Homestead Herb Harvest
Nice pile of herbs from our garden


I was going to tie up the herbs in bundles and hang them up to dry but after putting together two bundles I realized this was going to be too time consuming. So I laid them all out on tables to dry in the open air. During winter months when you are heating your home, the air is generally quite dry. This will dry out the herbs quickly and easily.


Because we had cut our herbs during a rain storm, they were all quite wet. Every few hours I would turn them over and fluff them up to allow maximum air flow to all parts of the plants as they dried. This prevents mold from forming in the heated house.


As I had time, I would work on the herbs to strip the leaves off the stems. This was a very time consuming job but it will be worth it during the winter months when I can enjoy organic herbal tea grown from our own homestead. I would grab a stem and just run my fingers down the stem to strip the leaves off. On some plants this went well and fast but on others like thyme it was a tedious process due to all the branches on the stems.





When I finished working on a plant group I put the leaves on a pizza tray or bake pan in the gas oven to let the pilot light burn off any moisture. This is a very gentle process and slowly dries out the plants with very little heat. It takes about 24 hours to dry them out for free using just the heat from the pilot light in the oven. If you do not have a gas oven you can use a food dehydrator.


Herbs Ready For Winter Use
Herbs Ready For Winter Tea


Once a batch was finished I bottled it up for later use in winter.


I also stipped off most of the seed heads that I could get to in order to save the seeds. I got a lot of seeds from some of the plants.


When I was finished, about a week and a half later, I had a nice batch of herbs for winter tea this season. It is very satisfying to process my own herbal tea from our own land.

I plan to drink a cup of tea every day this winter for its health benefits. Each day I will mix it up with a different flavor of tea. This will give me a variety of nutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidents. I am putting together a video series through the coming months on my tactical channel.

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Troy Reid


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