Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Harvesting your Herb Garden

Do not cut herbs at random. Take the opportunity to pinch out or prune the plant at the same time, removing unwanted shoots and encouraging bushiness.Use a sharp knife or scissors, do not break, bend or tear off the branches.
Always harvest from clean, healthy plants in peak condition
The optimum time to harvest herbs is in the morning, after the dew has evaporated, prior to the sun warming their leaves.
Handle the herbs gently without bruising or injuring the leaves and stems.
The distinctive oils that give herbs their aromas and flavours are volatile and can be destroyed if injured.
Select just enough herbs to be used, dried or frozen, the same day. Herbs should look healthy, fresh and clean, with out any type of discolouring.
Since the flavour and aroma of herbs deteriorates quickly after picking, be prepared to use them immediately.
If you must store them for a few hours, keep them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag that is perforated and can breathe.
When you are ready to use them, wash the herbs gently under cool, but not cold water and pat dry between paper towels.
Freezing fresh herbs is an easy way to store them for longer periods of time.
Clean the herbs delicately, blot them dry, and remove leavesfrom the stalks. You can freeze them whole or chopped, packing into freezer safe bags or airtight containers.

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