Harvesting And Drying Herbs

Harvesting And Drying Herbs


In most cases herbs are used fresh, but there are times when it?s handy to have a supply of dried herbs on hand. It?s not difficult to dry herbs, but it is critical to pick them at the right time. The oils and other chemicals, which make a herb valuable, in most cases, are at their best at only one stage of the plant?s growth. Medicinal herbs, in particular, can lose much of their value if harvested too early or late.

HARVESTING HERBS
Foliage, flowers, fruit, seed, bark, and even roots, rhizomes and bulbs, are harvested from herbs. No matter which part you harvest, the basic procedure is usually the same:

  1. Cut off the required parts with clean, sharp tools (avoid bruising).
  2. Harvest in cool weather.
  3. Remove as much unwanted material (eg: soil, insects, etc.) while still outside.
  4. Clean the material as soon as possible, removing damaged, dead or marked tissue, and any foreign material including insects and soil. Avoid washing, which might remove oils. Avoid using diseased material.
  5. Process the material as soon as possible (eg. distillation, drying, etc.), to minimise loss of oils or other chemicals.

Harvesting leaves
Most herb leaves are used fresh, although drying is used to ensure supply when leaves are not available, such as out of season. For most perennial herbs, the leaves are best-harvested before flowering, as they can lose up to 60% of their vegetative mass once the flowers form (e.g. mint).

Those herbs, which are used for both flowers and leaves (e.g. chamomile for use as a tea or scented geraniums and lavender for use in pot pourris) should be harvested when the plants are at the peak of their flowering.

They should ideally be cut mid-morning, after any dew has gone, on a clear, dry day. They are best dried in a shaded position. Air drying is normally adequate.

Harvesting roots
Roots are normally dug in autumn and dried whole. Extra large roots may be sliced first then the slices are dried. Artificial heat is desirable for root drying.

Harvesting seeds
With most seed harvesting it is best to harvest in the early stages of ripening to avoid unnecessary losses from seed drop, and also to preserve maximum oil content and colour in the harvested product. Seeds are ready to harvest when a slight tap on the seed head causes the seed to fall. Seeds harvested for culinary use may also be used for planting the next crop, provided viability is good.

Shade drying is preferable; though in commercial production, plants are often mowed then field cured or ripened on canvas sheets.

Harvesting material for medicinal use
The demand for pure, clean, properly handled material is high, both in Australia and throughout many other parts of the world. It is critical that the herbs are of the highest quality and are picked at the optimum stage of production. LEAVES should ideally be collected on clear days, mid-morning, after the dew has dried. For most medicinal plants, harvest the leaves when the plant is starting to flower. Leaves of biennial plants are best collected in the second year of growth. To dry, spread the leaves out on a clean dry surface. Turn occasionally until thoroughly dry. Remove stems from the leaves and only keep those leaves which have retained their natural colour.

FLOWERS should be collected immediately after they open. Dry the same way as for leaves and only retain those that keep their natural colour.

BULBS should be collected immediately after the leaves of the plant die back. Remove the outer scales of the bulb, slice it, then dry it using artificial heat.

BARKS are commonly collected in autumn or spring. It is normally the inner bark which is required (remove the outer bark first). Most barks should be dried in sunlight (but not wild cherry).

SEEDS should be gathered on ripening (but before the seeds are expelled or fruits are eaten). Larger, fully developed seeds are the most useful.

HANDLING FRESH HERBS AFTER HARVEST
Once picked, most fresh herbs deteriorate quickly unless properly handled. They will quickly wilt, and lose colour, essential oils and other aromatic compounds. This deterioration can be slowed in a number of ways:
? Plants grown under optimum temperature and soil moisture conditions don't deteriorate as fast. In other words the healthier and more vigorous the plant is when harvested, the longer it will last.
? If harvested when the aromatic compounds, oils, etc are at optimum levels, deterioration is slower. In some plants, including rosemary and sage, this is just before flowering; for other plants the optimum harvest time may be at a different stage of the plant's growth.
? A 10oC reduction in the temperature of the harvested herb will generally increase its storage life by 3 to 4 times.
? Most fresh herbs are best stored at refrigerator temperatures of around 1 - 4oC. Some herbs (eg. watercress and basil) are sensitive to chilling and should not be stored at this low a temperature (around 5 oC to 6oC would be preferable).
? Harvesting your herbs in the coolest part of the morning will also help get them down to storage temperature more quickly.
? Do not store at temperatures below 1oC as damage due to freezing will occur.
? Water loss is reduced if high humidity is maintained around the fresh herb - do this with film wraps. You do not want humidity too high though. If condensation develops on plant tissues, the humidity is too high and breather holes in the plastic will be needed otherwise the herb may rot.
? Fresh herbs are often very soft and can be readily damaged during harvesting (e.g. mint, basil and coriander). This makes them more prone to moisture loss, to discolouring and microbial infection. Careful handling during harvest to reduce damage will prolong their storage life.

DRYING HERBS
Anyone can dry herbs. All you need is a cool, preferably dark, reasonably well ventilated room. Your harvest is simply tied in bunches and hung upside down from the ceiling (or even curtain rods). Don't do this in a room which will steam up (ie. avoid kitchens and bathrooms), and try to find a relatively dark place as direct sunlight can reduce oil content.

In very humid climates, bunches will take longer to dry and may develop fungal growths. To minimise such problems be sure to use a well-ventilated room (a fan may be helpful), keep the bunches smaller and allow room for air to move between bunches.

After drying, foliage can be stripped and either used or stored in sealed, dry containers. Roots (and sometimes other parts) are often ground into a powder after drying. Containers should be labelled with the name of the plant and when it was harvested to avoid any confusion.

Oven drying
Oven drying greatly hastens the drying process. Preheat the oven to 50oC. Place the herbs on brown paper on oven racks and poke some slits in the paper to increase air movement. The oven door should be left slightly open to allow moisture to escape. Leave the herbs for one hour, before turning and leaving for another hour. By the time they are taken out of the oven, they should be crisp and dry with reasonable colour.

Microwave drying
This is the fastest drying method. Place the herbs between paper towels and microwave them on high for 1-2 minutes, depending on how high the herbs? moisture content. It may take a few practice runs to determine the right time period for drying using a microwave.

HARVEST OF SELECTED HERBS
Basil: Cut stems close to the ground about flowering time, then treat like mint. Regrowth will provide one or two additional crops in a season.
Chervil: Fresh leaves can be harvested and used like parsley. Seeds can also be used for culinary purposes (e.g. flavouring vinegar).
Fennel: Foliage is simply cut, dried, then crumbled. Seed can also be harvested.
Fenugreek: Fruits picked as soon as ripe, before seed pods shatter. Seeds are shelled or threshed from pods, then dried using artificial heat.
Lemon Verbena: Leaves are picked individually and dried.
Lovage: Leaves are picked while young, thin and tender, then dried. Roots are dug in late autumn of the second year, washed, sliced then dried
Mint: Shoots are cut just before flowering on a dry day and air-dried in shaded conditions. Leaves are stripped after drying and stems discarded.
Parsley: Foliage is handled like mint. Seed heads are harvested on maturity and laid on a dry surface, dried, then beaten or thrashed to obtain seed. Roots are occasionally dug (autumn of second year) and dried.
Rue: Used mainly fresh, but may be dried.
Sage: Tender herbaceous parts can be cut and handled like mint. Only one cut should be done in the first year, but two or three each year after that. Plants become increasingly woody over the years, and are usually replaced after 5 to 6 years.
Summer Savoury: Cut at ground level when flowering starts, and treat like mint.
Sweet Marjoram: Normally used fresh, but can be fried.
Tansy: Cut in full bloom. Air dry leaves and flowers in shade. Discard stems after drying.
Thyme: Cut when flowering and air dry. Flowers and leaves can be powdered or chopped…discard coarse stems. Two or three harvests in a season can normally be made.
Winter Savoury: Cutting stimulates growth ? normally cut twice or more each year.

Top Reasons Why Temporary Shelters Are Imperative For A Marathon Event?


A lot of outdoor events like marathons are very popular in hot seasons like summer and enough preparations ensure that the entire event is successful. You need to ensure that there is a form of shelter where people can get some kind of shade from the hot sun.Temporary shelters should be set up at the start of the marathon event, finish point and along the route the race is planned to undertake. Since a marathon is expected to run over a long distance, the shelter along the race route can be used to store water for those participating in the marathon. Also, those who are injured or have to pull out because of various reasons can be taken care of in the shelter.Medical personnel are usually found at this kind of eve because it can be very draining and most people may need medical attention afterward. The shelter can be set aside as a first aid clinic where the runners can be treated where some even have medical fixtures and portable beds. The shelters for medical personnel should be set up at different locations along the race route. They can also be used to hold the organizers, the press, officials and other personalities attending the event. For local marathons, you may not expect as many people but the event still needs shelter because the marathon usually takes time to be completed. Marathons are usually held on public roads which have to be closed which means that there is no other kind of shelters.Therefore, the organizers have to set up some kind of temporary shelter for the event. Depending on the use, the size of the shelters will differ to ensure that it can sufficiently serve its purposes.

Most organizers opt to hire shelters rather than buy because this is an event that is held once in a while. There are lots of companies that provide renting services for different kinds of temporary shelters. It is important to compare different companies based on the prices and services offered to ensure you get a good deal. For instance, some renting companies will not only rent out the shelter but will provide people who will set them up for you at the locations you have specified. This means that all you have to do is select the shelters you want, make your payments and leave the rest to the service provider.Make sure that the company you settle for has quality shelters and a good client service policy. You should inspect the shelters that you have ordered before you make payments and sign the contract. Having a poorly set up shelter that comes down during the marathon event is not only embarrassing but will create a very bad impression on the event organizers. You can ask the service provider which other events they have rented shelters to and ask around to find out if the services were satisfactory. If you are not sure where to start, you can check online where you can find reviews about the service provider.

Choose The Perfect Garden Greenhouse


When choosing a garden greenhouse there are several things to consider. What style will look best in your garden? What weather factors should you take into consideration? What kind of plants do you want to grow there? Do you want your garden greenhouse to be freestanding or do you want to join it onto another building?

A freestanding garden greenhouse has the advantage of getting light from all sides, but your garden might not have room for such a structure. Lean-to greenhouses have the advantage of better support if you live in a place with strong winds which usually come from the same direction, such as a coastal property. If you live in a generally windy area you should also consider selecting a garden greenhouse with sturdy twin-wall panels as opposed to poly-film greenhouse covering - popular on many designs.

When selecting a garden greenhouse for particular plants you?ll need to consider how much light those plants need and how tall they?ll grow. Some plants can be trained round across the roof of your garden greenhouse to give them extra growing space, but others will need a garden greenhouse with tall walls.

Some people choose to install a garden greenhouse so that they can enjoy their favorite fruits and vegetables in an inhospitable climate, while others enjoy growing exotic flowers. If you?re in the latter group, you may prefer a garden greenhouse with strong aesthetic appeal, something which will make an attractive centerpiece in your garden. A garden greenhouse doesn?t need to be a simple glass shed - it can be a beautiful thing in its own right. Keep in mind though, that the clearer the greenhouse panels (such as glass), the less beneficial diffused light will be available for your plants.

Whatever type of garden greenhouse you choose, you?ll find that using it adds an extra dimension to your gardening experience. It?ll give you something to do all year round, whatever the weather, and will greatly increase your gardening options. Your garden greenhouse won?t just be for the plants - it?ll be somewhere you enjoy relaxing.

Hydroponics Gardening Guide ? Preparing Hydroponic Nutrient Solution, Transplant Seedlings And Takin How to organizing hydroponic Nutrient Solution

Nutrient resolution is made of water with dissolved fertilizer. It's desirable to have full quality water to be mixed with the fertilizer, the amount of which is forever indicated by the manufacturing business. It is very important to check and adjust if necessary pH scale degree of nutrient resolution with liquid pH scale adjusters. Commonly, pH scale degree of the nutrient solution depends upon the plant; however, most often it is between sixty and sixty-five for the absolute majority of the starter cubes, with the exception being Rockwool, which needs pH scale degree of fifty-five to fifty-eight. Fertilising young plants, a gardener should use a nutrient solution as weakly as ? to ? of the full strength suggested by the manufacturing business. Only plants staler than two weeks can be fertilized by the full strength nutrient solutions. It is suggested to keep the growing moderate moist, but not too wet or soaked with the hydroponics nutrient solution.

How to organ transplant Seedlings

The seedlings should be transplanted when the ancestors have grown out of the starter blocks. It is just essential to place the seedling along with the starter block on big top or into the permanent wave growing average, which can be any hydroponic growing medium or just soil.

Notes in taking cutting for dead ringer

Cutting, as a method of industrial plant* propagation, works well single if every step of the function is done correctly. Other, experiments may result in devastating consequences. Though, when done properly, equal to 95-100% of all cuttings grow successfully, it's still may be a full idea to take double as many cuttings as required, if you are making 1st steps in growing carvings.

One of the hints to increase chances in flourishing outcome is to use condensed water, while growing cuttings. Generally verbalizing, this is one of the most reliable and proven techniques of plants propagation, suitable for most of the plants. Other examples of propagation techniques are splitting, air layering, and weave civilisation. It is even possible to root cuttings without the apply of any growing mass medium in particular hydroponic systems. After forming the 1st ancestors, such cuttings are usually transplanted into any type of favored growing media.
for more articles of aeroponic

A Flower A Day Keeps The Doctor Away


Gourmet food is expensively delicious not only for its quality ingredients and taste, but also for its aesthetics. Aesthetics in food are making a big comeback in today?s restaurants, and for good reason. An experience involving one sense unwittingly involves more than one. So while we eat, we may think that taste is all that our brain is processing, but it?s a much richer experience than that. The smell and the sight of the food are major points in the eating experience. One of the most natural and most appealing ways to brighten up and beautify a dish is the simple addition of an edible flower! There are many varieties which are edible, and add a subtle flavor into your dish. Cooking with flowers, though, is a cautious process, as you must be completely sure that what you are serving is neither poisonous nor chemically treated. Once you have chosen your flowers safely, the options available for cooking are very wide. While I don?t recommend you start viewing bouquets as scrumptious salads and chewing away upon receiving a gift, it is worth realizing the value of flowers as a garnish and ingredient to complement a slew of recipes.

The absolutely most important factor when deciding to cook with flowers is to be sure that the variety is edible, and not poisonous. While this article shall provide general guidelines, do confirm before the use of any plant in your food that it is, in fact, edible. The safest bet for edible flowers is those that will eventually grow into the vegetables and fruits that we already know and love. Often the flowers of vegetables, fruits, and herbs offer a reminder of the plant they come from, in a more subtle flavor. Examples are the basil, chive, garlic, and lemon flowers. These are good garnishes for dishes which may already use the fruit of the above-mentioned flowers. The chamomile flower is very gentle and pleasant also. Other flowers that come from plants we know are the arugula flower, the mustard flower, the squash flower (which can even be fried and eaten on its own), and the sunflower. Edible flowers are not limited to those which later blossom into fruits and vegetables. Some of the prettiest flowers have petals which we can eat. Specifically, carnations, dandelions, jasmine, rose, lavender, violets, and daisies are edible. Some of these add a beautiful aroma to the dish, and a very romantic bite. Such flowers are perfect to add to a salad, because they add sharp color, which always makes a salad more appealing, along with a delicate flavor.

There are important rules that absolutely must be followed when using flowers in cooking. The importance of certainty in the safety of the specific flower is of utmost importance. Never use an ingredient in your cooking that you are not sure is safe. Remember that many flowers are poisonous, so be certain of the identity of the flowers you have chosen to cook with. Once this step has been checked, we?re ready to move on to the next rule of flower cooking. This rule is where you get your flower from. Do not buy flowers for cooking from florists, unless specifically grown for eating purposes. Most flowers for a florist are not grown as comestibles, and thus are not treated as comestibles. The products which these flowers are treated with are not to be consumed. Thus, either find a florist who specializes in growing flowers for eating purposes, or grow your own! Growing your own flowers for food entails basically the same rules as growing flowers for aesthetic pleasure, but be sure to avoid pesticides, and use natural methods of keeping bugs away: plant a variety of flowers near each other, as this equilibrium may help ward off bugs; remember that lady bugs are a good bug that eats many pests, so know your friendly bugs; smearing some garlic and coffee grinds into the soil often keeps pests at bay as they hate the sharpness and bitterness of these foods. Lastly, use only the petals of flowers, as the pollen may cause allergies, and is often bitter. Especially for first-time flower cooks, use small amounts, as any food new to the digestive tract should be introduced slowly and easily.

Now that we are ready to cook, let the ideas roll in! Usage of flowers is so varied; they can accompany anything from hors d?oeuvres to dessert. Flowers are perfect garnishes for salty and sweet dishes, and petals add a nice flavor and look to salads. Try making a salad mix of veggies and fruits, and throw in some flowers as well. This will add to the beauty of such a varied salad, and will add a unique flavor to the sensation of the combined sweetness and saltiness. Herbal butters have never looked prettier with flower petals mixed into them, and most batters will only be upgraded with a flower mixed into them. Imagine the beauty of crepes with some lavender flowers spread throughout! Drinks will look sharp with flowers frozen into ice cubes, while teas are delicious with aromatic flowers. Adding some rose jam to your tea is also a delicious option of sweetening your tea, so think of the jams you can make from flowers. Once you start cooking with flowers, you can be so much more creative in your cooking, with results that all notice and love.

Every cook likes to heighten her experience and always looks for new ways to improve and change. Flowers are a wonderful step to this, as they are easy to cook with, add beauty and aroma, and help the imagination flow to create more and more interesting recipes. Flowers have long been used in cooking, and what luck that the fashion is coming back. Our dishes will be tastier, more attractive, and richer in aroma. Learn which flowers you can cook with, and, upon buying them, be sure that they have been grown to be eaten and stick to using the petals of the flowers. Keep in mind that many flowers used as garnishes are often only decorative. For instance, many live flowers used to decorate wedding cakes are not for consumption. However, when you are cooking with flowers you know to be good for eating, let your imagination run, and you will create a myriad of dishes that are enhanced and beautified by the flower garden you have added into them!