Saturday, September 15, 2018

How to Create Your Own Italian Seasoning


Every home needs an herb garden. Even if it's just a few plants in containers on a patio. The bees will appreciate you and your family will as well when you are roasting a chicken with fresh rosemary or topping their favorite pasta dish with a handful of chopped basil. In the late summer before the whole thing fades to nothingness except the thyme and rosemary it's time to harvest, dry, and store. 


Planting and Harvesting: 

For Italian seasoning, I like to plant: oregano, flat leaf Italian parsley, basil, rosemary, and garlic chives.  You can start cutting and drying them in mid-summer. 


When it's time to harvest the whole thing when the plants are winding down cut them early in the day before it's too warm. Wash them thoroughly and let them dry.  In these photos the herbs have flowers because I left them as long as possible for the bees. You may want to harvest them sooner. 


Next, separate the leaves from the stems. I like to save the woody stems of rosemary to toss in the first fire of the season. Do you have little seasonal rituals? If you love to grill out soak them in water and add them to the coals. 



Drying: 

Put the leaves in a mesh basket, on a window screen, or even out on a table to dry completely. You can place them on a cookie sheet in a warm oven, or if you don't care how long it takes you can play Little House on the Prairie and hang them up to dry. A food dehydrator is more trouble than it's worth for me since it's another gadget that must be stored except for a couple of times a year you are going to use it. Surely by now, Y'all know how I feel about gadgets. 

When they are dried enough for you to crumble them in your hands break them up over a strainer to keep out the larger pieces. Or cut them with scissors. Basically anyway you can get the job done will work. You just don't want your family picking actual sticks out of their food. 

Of course, I'm sure woody thyme stems are good for you. How is that not a thing? 

Usually, after that I let them dry a few more days. It's humid in the south and you don't want any chance of mold. When you think it's dry, give it another day or two just to be safe. 

Break them up until the pieces are fine enough to be used in an herb or spice shaker you have. 


Storing: 

Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place until you need them.

You can experiment with different blends of herbs you like to make your own, one of a kind mix!

Perfect gift for the foodie in your life. :) Pair it with a jar of honey for a delicious marinade. Tie a little bundle of herbs on top to become the gift giving champion! 

XOXO Y'all! 


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