Warm weather is on its way again and there is a rush on to harvest all the soft herbs before they bolt and flower and send all their energy into seed production. While the weather is still cool and dry, the essential oil content is at its highest level and your herbs will be pungent and potent harvested now. Always pick after the dew has dried and before the full heat of the day.
The mint I picked, bunched and hung two weeks ago is ready to strip before it collects dust and cobwebs and loses a lot of its colour. The leaves are hard and brittle and should crumble easily. Gently pull the leaves from the stems. Store whole leaves in an airtight jar and store in a dark place. Use for teas and
tinctures. To process for cooking, rub gently through a metal sieve, discarding the hard stems and veins. Chuck out all the old herbs in your pantry as you process the new crop. The sticks make fragrant twigs for the fire or can be chopped up and added to the compost bin. This process will work for oregano, marjoram, yarrow, lemon verbena and sage but not for fleshier herbs like basil and plantain..
I got creative with the two batches of elder fizz now bottled and waiting for labels. A lovely pink version was a great success after I added 4 rosehip and hibiscus flowers tea bags to the hot syrup. A nice natural red fizzy drink for all the grandies. Now for the labels!