Drying Edible Flowers and Herbs

Edible flowers and some herbs can be delicate, but learning how to dry them properly can ensure you make the most of each harvest.

Some people swear by a commercial food dehydrator, but if you don’t want to go to the expense, there are simple ways to dry your flowers and herbs.

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Know What Is Safe to Eat

Safety first. Take the time to research what is safe to eat, and what it can be used for. In some cases, you can use the flowers, in others the leaves. Sometimes with herbs, you might be able to use the entire plant. There are many websites online with free information.

If you tend to have seasonal allergies, you might wish to avoid eating flowers. Most people should avoid eating the pollen, in order to avoid allergic reactions and to improve the taste of the flowers.

Good edible options include roses, mums, nasturtium, lavender and pansy.

Know What You Like

Edible flowers and herbs are very much a personal taste and preference. Think about the kind of herbs you use in your cooking these days, and how handy it might be to grow your own. As for flowers, check the descriptions of common edible flowers in relation to taste, whether they are sweet or savory, and so on. Then you can start planning your growing, harvesting and drying.

Choose Flowers and Herbs That Dry Well

Not all edible flowers and herbs dry well, so choose ones you know will be hardy enough to survive the process, and ones you use regularly.

Hang Them Upside Down

Hanging the flowers and herbs upside down on a rack in a cool, dry place will help preserve them. They should be completely dry when you start; that is, with no dew on them. You can tie them into loose bunches with some cotton thread and hang them by the thread from hooks. They will usually take four to seven days to dry completely.

Once they are dried, you can remove flowers, leaves and so on from the stems and harvest the edible parts of the plant. For flowers, cut them in half and clean out any pollen or other inedible parts.

Store your harvest in cool, dry containers. Be sure to label each one so you don’t get any surprises when you use them in cooking.

Using Your Own Oven

Set your oven to 140 degrees F. Line some cookie sheets with paper towels. Lay the herbs in a single row on the towels. Heat for about 30 minutes, then check on them and turn them over. Heat through for another 20 to 30 minutes, but do not allow them to burn, or else all their nutrients and their taste will be gone.

Trim the edible parts and store in a cool, dry place.

Keep Things Dry

No matter which method you use, be sure the flowers and herbs are completely dry before storing them. Otherwise, they will develop mildew and become useless.

Recipes

There are many recipes that call for dried herbs, so have fun experimenting. As for edible flowers, you will need to do some research, but you should be able to find a range of soups, stews, sauces, salads and desserts. Dried herbs are three times stronger in taste than fresh, so use sparingly.

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Culinary Herbs (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Why Our Diets Are Badly Failing Us and What We Can Do About It

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Right now, there’s a good chance that your diet is woefully inadequate when it comes to ensuring you are in the best possible health. In fact, there’s a good chance that your diet may be killing you.

And what is the culprit here? The answer is empty calories and processed foods.

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These days, a huge proportion of what we eat is ready prepared and ‘processed’. That means that it has spent a lot of time in a factory and thus bears little resemblance to what the ingredients originally looked like.

A good example is a bag of crisps, which doesn’t tend to have much potato left in it at all. Chocolate is made from a cocoa bean but the rest is purely processed. And ready made lasagne will have had all the goodness fried out of it and a ton of salt, sugar and bad fats added to try and keep it preserved.

All this means that you’re getting calories from your diet – calories that will provide you with energy and make you gain weight – but no nutrition.

Why We Need Nutrition

It is a mistake to think of food as fuel. Calories are fuel and they happen to be in our food. But food is more than that.

Apart from also being a social event and a hobby, food should also be a source of raw materials. The saying that you ‘are what you eat’ is literally true and when you eat any meal, your body will break it down into its constituent parts and then reassemble those parts in order to build your muscle, create enzymes and hormones and even produce neurotransmitters (the chemicals that make our brain work).

When you don’t get these things, you’ll find yourself feeling considerably worse. If you don’t get enough vitamin C for example, then your immune system won’t be able to perform at its best and you’ll be much more likely to get ill. Worse, vitamin C is also crucial for helping you to produce serotonin. Take that away and your mood will plummet. It also helps us sleep!

Similarly, when you don’t get enough omega 3 fatty acid, it can cause inflammation – this makes your joints hurt, it creates brain fog and it can lead to illness.

A lack of amino acid will mean that your muscles are weaker and smaller. And it will result in your skin looking grey and your nails being brittle.

The short term issues are worthy of a lot of concern but more worrying still is what this does to your health in the long term. The damage here is cumulative and in the end you will be more likely to suffer with a range of diseases.

What to do About It

The answer is to stop thinking of food as fuel and to instead think about the quality of the raw materials you’re putting into your system. Find ways to get more nutrition food in your diet -even if that means just adding a smoothie into your routine!

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Diet and Exercise (Free Download)