Fresh or Dried Herbs?

There’s quite the debate about whether to use dry or fresh herbs in preparations. Some prefer one over the other. But for some of us all we can acquire is dried. I’m coming to realize that this whole field of herbs is not carved in stone. Some herbalist choose one herb over another for different ailments. That’s not to say, one is right and the other is wrong, but it’s purely a preference. With that being said, if I have time and I have the fresh herbs and other ingredients then I’ll use fresh, but if I don’t then I’ll dry the herbs for future use when I do have all the ingredients I need.

Honey built me a screen to hang my hats on for display at festivals and fairs, but since I’m not doing many show right now I use it for my herbs. It works great in our dark cool basement. It’s basically 1×2’s in whatever size you need and then I stapled plastic screening to it. I bundle them with organic kitchen string and hang them with paper clips that I pulled apart. After these guys are dry, I’ll store them in paper bags to preserve their healing goodness.

Today I harvested Rue, Rosemary, Borage, Echinacea rubenstein, Marjoram, Hyssop and Rose Scented Geraniums. I’m infusing the Rue and Hyssop in oil and drying the others. My tincturing cupboard is full, but I need to start some more Ashwaganda which has been an excellent remedy for sleeping and I need to prepare some more Echinacea for wintertime colds. Now to figure a way to press all the goodness out of my tinctures and oils.

Working with herbs is very rewarding. It takes some forethought since 4-6 weeks is required to infuse oils and to also make tinctures. You can rush the infusing process by heating the herbs in the oil on the stove, but I don’t feel that that is the right way for me. As I’m learning with fermentations some things are worth the wait and it’s only in the waiting that we truly appreciate the end results and our bodies benefit from the healing powers of the foods. Sure, anyone can prepare soaps, tinctures, oils, pickles, but the quality is lacking in the end result if it’s just a heat & serve.

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