Preserving our Summer Herbs and Flowers

It’s hard to believe that it was only a couple of months ago since our flower field was in full bloom when I shared a little tour this August.

empty-fall-field

…and now it looks like this! All the annual plants have been dug up for compost and the perennials have been moved to our new perennial bed. The landscape fabric has been rolled up for next year and all that’s left to do is dig up the dahlia tubers after we get one more good frost.

lucy-collecting-herbs

Before we tore it all apart, I went around and cut all the herbs and flowers that we could possibly preserve for over the winter. I had the cutest little helper who insisted on carrying the basket.

basket-herbs

A big basket of fragrant herbs was just too much to pass up! We had lavender, rosemary, parsley, cilantro, lemon balm and my favourite tri-colour sage.

closeuo-basket-herbs

I love this sage for winter roasts and I even used some in our Thanksgiving turkey earlier this month. It was great in the vegetarian stuffing too.

flowers-drying-cold-storage

I hung some of the lavender and rosemary in the mudroom where I’ve hung the last of our statice flowers to dry as well.

frozen-fresh-rosemary

The rest of the rosemary was flash frozen in the freezer and popped into a large freezer bag. I just take out a sprig as I need it. I shared more about how I flash freeze produce in another post.

I use fresh rosemary for lots of dishes in the winter, including my Rustic Rosemary Parmesan No Knead Bread.

dried-lavender-buds

I dried lavender earlier this summer and I was able to seal it up in a container now to store over the winter and use to make things like my Handmade Lavender Sachets – a great homemade gift idea!

dehydrator-fresh-herbs

For the rest of the herbs, I tried my hand at drying them in the dehydrator. I’ve used it to make beef jerky and banana chips as snacks, but never tried herbs before.

fresh-sage-dehydrator

I started by snipping off all the leaves before they went in the dehydrator for 1-2 hours…

dried-sage-dehydrator

…but they shriveled up so small that they fell through some of the grates. Next time I’d keep them on the stem to make it easier to collect them after they’re dry.

dried-parsley-dehydrator

The parsley turned out great.

burnt-dehydrated-lemon-balm

The lemon balm didn’t work very well though. It looked like it was little burnt leaves and it didn’t seem to retain any of its fragrance. Better luck next time!

glass-spice-jars

I packaged up the sage and parsley in cute little spice jars to keep them sealed all winter.

dried-dusty-miller-sea-holly

While I had the dehydrator out, I tried drying dusty miller leaves and some sea holly thistles. I’m hoping to use them as some filler in my Christmas wreaths, along with the dried statice. I love the idea of enjoying our own homegrown flowers in my holiday decor.

dried-flower-wreath-closeup

I shared a tutorial earlier this week on how I used dried flowers to create a simple colourful wreath.

It’s hard to say goodbye to the flower field until next year, but I’m so glad I took the time to preserve a few things to enjoy from it all winter long.

 

 

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