Each spring I convince myself that the crazy amount of money I spend on herbs is worthwhile. That not only will I use the herbs in every dish that comes out of my kitchen, but that I will also dry them for future use during the winter. I tell myself that I will finally get around to bundling and drying little bunches of sage to smudge the house with, because for some reason I feel like this house could use a good smudging. Stick with me people; I’m not a freak. Clearly even Brenna could benefit from a good smudging; perhaps to get some of those evil spirits that occasionally take possession of her furry little body to leave her alone for a bit, so that Mommy and Daddy can get a good night’s sleep once and a while.
Basically, each spring I tell myself a big ol’ fat lie, because I rarely take the time to go out and pick any of the herbs I grow while in the midst of trying not to burn the house down with whatever it is I’m cooking at the moment. Chives are the only herb I use on a regular basis, because I love their mild oniony flavor, as well as the touch of green they add to a dish. So instead of lying to myself once again about this being the fall that I would finally harvest the sage in my porch pot gardens, I broke down in Salem, Massachusetts and actually purchased a few smudge sticks from The Salem Witch Village. I just realized how that last sentence came out, so let me disavow you of any notion that I am growing pot on my back porch, I was referring to the little gardens of herbs that I actually have growing in pots. Sorry, this isn’t Colorado, and no I’m not a witch.
So you may be wondering how the smudging went. It hasn’t, because apparently I lied to myself about actually wanting to smudge the house on a regular basis as well. The little dried bundles are still sitting in my pantry, waiting to smudge. I’ll get to it eventually, and I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ll consider it a success as long as I don’t burn the house down or catch the cat on fire.
“In the kitchen, fruit salads are enhanced by the fruity, piquant flavor of the fresh flowers and leaves. This flavor is very different from that of garden sage; although there is a sagey element, it’s very subtle, and pineapple sage doesn’t substitute for other culinary sages. The flowers add visual sparkle as well. Even without flowers, a fresh leafy stem of pineapple sage is the perfect garnish for tall summer drinks.
Try mixing the minced leaves and flowers in cream cheese for a delightfully fruity spread, or knead a handful or two of chopped leaves into raisin bread dough. Steeping the leaves in hot apple juice and using the juice to make jelly is an easy way to preserve the pineapple sage flavor. The dried leaves can be brewed for a satisfying winter tea; however, the fruity element is lost in drying.” – Mother Earth Living
This is the fall that I finally got around to drying one herb in my garden, only because I’ve totally become addicted to it, and don’t think that I can go through a long winter without it’s presence. Pineapple sage is now my #2 favorite herb. It has such a mild and unique flavor, and it goes with just about any dish you can dream up. I contemplated drying the leaves in my oven, but realized that would just take like forever, and ain’t nobody got time for that. So, I asked my brother if he would let me borrow his food dehydrator, which he uses to dry hot peppers and make beef jerky. The dehydrating process takes patience, and it’s not something to be rushed, seeing as you will want to get every little bit of moisture sucked out of the plants if you wish to store them properly. In addition, you will most likely be forced to dehydrate your herbs in several small batches, which will make the process even longer. The end result is worth it though. After the herbs are dried, you simply crumble them between your fingers, and store them in airtight glass jars. I’m halfway through the dehydrating process, and already have enough pineapple sage that I’m contemplating packaging it up for friends and neighbors who love to cook. If you fall into this category, feel free to send me an email, and I’ll make sure you get a little jar to try.
B.O.B. Bob’s younger sister Linda recently asked if I would be doing any posts about drying herbs. Well Linda, this is for you. I know that I’m cheating and doing it the “easy” way, but here a few sites that will help you to achieve the same goal, without having to spend the money. If you do choose to spend the money on a food dehydrator, make sure to do some research for one that fits within your price range, yet still has good customer reviews.
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