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How to collect and store aromatic herbs

How to collect and store aromatic herbs

The ability to produce and use what has been produced at home or in your garden is one of the activities that gives us more satisfaction and at the same time makes a great service to the planet. Produce and eat at Km zero.
To do this, however, some small knowledge is needed without which we risk wasting time and being disappointed. For specific cultivation techniques we refer to the specific section, while regarding the collection technique and above all of conservation, on this page, I will try to give more details.
In general the principles to be adopted are the following:

for the collection of the leaves, the best moment is before the grass blooms because they have more flavor and are tender; for the collection of flowers, this operation must be done before they begin to open completely, at noon; for the removal of the roots, this operation must be performed when the upper part of the plant begins to wilt.
Let’s move on to conservation now.
The conservation must be done according to the use that we want to make of the plants; in general it is advisable to consume them after harvesting, because once dried, they lose a bit of aroma and flavor. Moreover, the more we move away from the harvest (especially for fruit and vegetables) the organoleptic and nutritive qualities undergo an exponential decrease. A good option is to freeze them or keep them in oil or in vinegar (an option that, as mentioned, is not an alternative to fresh products).
However, if we have to keep the product dry, we must be careful, after harvesting, to remove the leaves that have grown too close to prevent the residual moisture from generating mold. These are tied to bunch and hung down from the stem, in a dry, warm, dark, and well-ventilated place (the suitability of the room to these characteristics is essential for obtaining a quality product of value). After 30-45 days, if you want to keep them, separate the leaves (or small plant parts) by hand and insert them in a jar previously labeled, dried, storing it in a dry and dark place.
The above method is the best way to preserve taste, aroma and properties.
Alternative options, as mentioned, are to freeze the green parts just collected in plastic bags or containers labeled, or an interesting technique is to introduce small amounts of leaves in ice cubes with water, to be used then when needed. Another alternative is to use the green parts of the plants previously washed, perfectly dried in the air and then stored in oil or in vinegar to dress salads or make excellent marinades.

Guido Bissanti

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