The world has seen an environmental shift like no other over the last few months. The reduction in movement has allowed the world to breath and the unavailability of outdoor spaces has forced us to look for other ways to introduce nature into our daily lives.
Many of us have turned to baking from scratch, gardening anywhere we can and considering how this pause in our normal routines has affected our health and wellbeing. By turning to nature in window boxes, gardens and on the kitchen windowsill; a rise in home grown herbs to enhance our cooking has evolved.
Supermarkets have provided us with the options of dried or fresh herbs ever since they’ve existed. Bottled, packaged or potted. With any of these at varying costs, we’re purchasing herbs that have been intensively grown so we can conveniently pick them up anywhere, anytime, all year round. Dried herbs have the longest shelf life, cut fresh herbs will last 3 to 4 days and a potted plant will last around two weeks. But doesn't this feel odd? A potted plant only lasting two weeks?
How can this be healthy for ourselves or the planet when a rooted plant won’t last a fortnight?
The greatest benefit to home grown herbs is their richness in taste. They’re naturally higher in vital vitamins and antioxidants because they aren’t intensively grown. They’ll always be on hand whenever you need them and by growing herbs inside your home, you can extend their growth season to all year round too!
If you're starting out in your home grown herb venture, it’s as simple as purchasing a few seeds and planting them in any type of vesicle (which can let water drain through!) Nurturing these seedlings has not only proven to be a great stress reliever but also the success of raising these plants brings great pride. Not only are you providing your family with a better quality of ingredient but you’re also investing a few minutes a day for your own wellbeing.
To get the most out of your herbs keep them healthy. Water them regularly to keep the soil moist and leave them where the sun can reach them for an average of 4 hours a day. Trimming off the tips when you need them for a recipe is often enough to encourage regrowth, making them become a larger, fuller plant.
Once you’ve grown some beautiful plants and have noticed the difference in how vibrant they taste, you’ll soon notice that you aren't using the same quantity in dishes to achieve the same flavours. You might find that your plants have grown plentiful and you want to preserve or share them. So why not dry them yourself?
How to air dry your own herbs:
- Cut off the healthy growth and remove any leaves that are wilting
- Clean the stem of leaves and shake away any other debris
- Bundle and tie the stems together
- Cut holes in a paper bag, place the bundles inside and tie the top
- Allow to hang for 2 weeks to dry
Air drying is an easy way to make your herbs go that little bit further. If you're drying a moist herb like basil, chives or mint, try freeze drying or even baking them!
What’s more convenient than having herbs already growing in your kitchen and dried in the pantry?
These simple touches will keep your plants happy and healthy. An effective way to have your herbs dried or fresh for any dish, any time. Better tasting and better for your family.