Custom Culinary Herbs

Type: Edible

Difficulty: Easy

Kid-friendly? Yes – Harvesting, Drying, Mixing

Why let your friends settle for store-bought flavourings when they could be bringing your green thumb to their kitchen? Gift them a jar of preserved herbs harvested from your garden, dried with care and blended with love. We recommend experimenting with creating a signature blend.

Dried herbs can be used in many other gifting applications, too – they’ll never go astray.

You’ll need:

  • Access to garden herbs of your choice. For example: rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, bay, tarragon, marjoram, lemon verbena, dill, celery leaves, lavender flowers.
  • Natural twine
  • Paper bags
  • Spice grinder
  • Small glass jar/s with airtight caps
  • Additional twine and hole-punched card labels (or stick-on labels)

Harvesting and Drying

  1. Mid-morning is the best time to harvest, after the morning dew has dried off but before newly developed essential oils have been burned away by the sun. Avoid dead or wilted leaves. Harvest as much as you like, depending on how much you’d like to gift (and keep for yourself – best to give it a test run, after all).
  2. When you’ve collected what you need, tie the stems into bundles with twine and hang them upside down to dry. Choose a warm, dry spot away from the kitchen. You’ll probably need to tighten the ties as the bundles lose volume. Place a paper bag (with a few air holes punched in it) over each bundle and tie on.
  3. Depending on the type of herbs in the bundles, it may take up to several days for them to dry fully.

Grinding and Mixing

  1. Once dried, disassemble the bundles and remove the culinary parts that you wish to use – this is typically the leaves, in which case you’ll remove and discard the stems.
  2. Grind individual herbs in spice grinder and place in separate bowls.
  3. You can then create a special gifting blend. Follow your nose and, if in doubt, make some small sample batches to try out yourself before you blend the whole lot.

When you’re happy with your mix, place in glass jar and label.