Harvesting Herbs

NOTE: If you want to gather wild herbs, keep in mind that roadsides, fields, and even forests can get unannounced and unrecorded but heavy doses of herbicide or insecticide. Be cautious. When to Harvest: Gather herbs on a dry day, early in the morning but after the dew is off. The season to harvest varies with the species. Parsley and chervil are dried in May, June, and July; burnet and tarragon in June, July, and August; marjoram and mint in July; summer savory and lemon thyme at the end of July and August. The tender young leaves that appear before the flowering are usually best. Get leaves before the plants show signs of going to seed. That happens after they blossom, when the blossoms turn into seed clusters and their energy goes into making seed. At best the plant is not at its prime; at worst it gets bitter. How to Harvest: Cut the herbs with pruning shears or scissors and put them into clean pillowcases or some such. Don't cut to the ground; leave at least a 4-inch stem if you're topping an annual. If it's a perennial, leave at least two-thirds of the plant unharmed. Then take the herbs home and carefully pick them over. Rinse in cool water and drain.

Continue reading here: Preserving Herbs

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