Medicinal herbs offer a large variety of benefits and can really help with quality of life. Once your herbs are done growing, it is time to harvest them. Here's our quick start guide on how to harvest herbs properly!
Harvesting herbs is a simple process, but it does take time. It is important not to rush the herbs or else they may lose their effectiveness. Following is a simple guide to help you harvest, dry, and store your medicinal herbs.
There are a few ways you can go about harvesting herbs. One of the most common and most effective methods is to harvest as you need to use the herb. Many herbs can continuously be used during their growing season, so long as they are pruned and harvested regularly.
This will allow you to get more out of your herb, and it will be ready for you to grab and use at any time. If you plan on harvesting the whole herb, wait until it is done growing and plenty potent.
The last thing that you want to do is pick too early or too late into the herb's life cycle, thus nullifying the benefits that the herb provides.
For detailed instructions on harvesting or foraging for particular herbs and plants, please visit our plant profiles.
To introduce the world of plants to your children, check out these best children's books about plants and gardens.
Once you have harvested your herb, you may need to clean it. This is especially true if the herb was grown or foraged outside. To clean an herb, gently brush it off with a soft brush or rag, or even your fingertips.
It is not recommended to wash or rinse herbs with water, as lingering water molecules can damage the herb during the drying process and promote mold. However, sometimes water is required, in which case you just want to be very gentle and pay extra close attention to the drying process, ensuring the herb dries completely.
Once your herbs are cleaned off, it is time to dry them. There are a few methods that you can use to dry off your herbs.
Before we begin, however, it is important to note that you can use your herbs right away. Additionally, herbs can be temporarily stored in a fridge or freezer if you plan on using them soon.
Herbs stored in the freezer are susceptible to freezer burning, which is why I recommend using vacuum sealed bags if this is what you intend on doing.
Drying herbs is important as it removes the water from them allowing them to last longer. To dry herbs, you can hang them outside on a clothesline or on racks in the sunlight. Be careful not to do this with wet herbs as water can magnify the sun's rays onto the herb, thus damaging it.
You can also dry herbs in a cool and dry place, such as a basement. You can tell if your herbs are dry when they are still as potent as they were when ripe, but they should be a lot more rigid. Once your herbs are done drying, store them in sealed containers for later use.
There are many advantages to medicinal herbs, which is why it is important to properly harvest and store them. With this guide, you too, can harvest and store your herbs while retaining their effectiveness.
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