Dig In!: Spicing things up with your garden's herbs
It may seem like the end of the growing season, but there is still much to be done in the garden. Just ask Venice Williams, executive director of Alice's Garden and our regular Dig In! contributor. This month, she presents many ways to preserve herbs and prepare for winter.
Williams says, "For the herbs, we should be both preparing our gardens for the 2024 season, but simultaneously we should be harvesting the abundance drying for teas and as seasonings. But we also should be making all kinds of creative products." Mint, thyme, and bail are prominent herbs to gather and store this time of year.
Williams recommends taking peppermint or spearmint, dehydrating it, crumbling it, and storing it in jars to preserve for teas. "There is nothing as satisfying as drinking a cup of tea in February that came from your garden in September and October," says Williams. Always be sure to label your herbs as you store them.
A creative way to use and preserve herbs through these months is herbal butter. These are made by chopping the herbs, mixing them with any type of butter, and then storing them in a freezer using ice cube trays or a freezer bag. "So now, I can pop out one and use it on a baked potato. I could sauté vegetables in it. You can use these herb butter in so, so many ways," says Williams. Sage, basil, parsley, lovage, and thyme work well for this method.
For more helpful tips on herbs for this season, Williams recommends reading Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee De La Foret.