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Drying Herbs

**June or July is great time to go out and collect herbs to dry for tea and spices. **

The morning or the evening of a dry day is the optimal time to harvest herbs. Look for the newest leaves without flower buds on them. Clip off the desired amount and bundle the stems together with string, a twist tie, or an elastic band so that each bundle is less than an inch in diameter thick. Hang the bundles upside down in a brown paper bag in a dry and well-ventilated place, keeping each kind of herb in separate bags to preserve the flavors. The bag will keep the light and dust out while providing a dry and aerated environment. In order to leave enough space for air, two to three bundles per large shopping bag should be the limit.

It will take a couple of weeks for them to dry thoroughly. You’ll know they are ready to be processed and put into jars when they crumble to the touch. At that point, remove the leaf from the stem and discard the stems (or bundle them and burn them for a delightful smell in your next campfire). Crumble the leaves with your clean fingers or a coffee grinder, if you like them very fine. Store herbs out of the light in tightly sealed glass jars. Herbs gathered and stored in this fashion will keep well for a year or more, or until they lose their smell.

photos: CCF staff

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