I love fresh herbs- but what's even better is when you store them yourself from your own making! The best grocery store varieties have been sitting on the shelves/manufacturers warehouses for who knows how long and the best herbs have a shelf life of 6-12 months, depending on the variety. You can never be sure when they were harvested. So to get best flavor without pesticides and the costly price tag, drying and storing them yourself is the way to go. Herbs don't need much room to grow so you can grow them almost anywhere and they are easy. I store my harvested, dried herbs in glass baby jars and paint the TOPS of the lids white. I like to hand write my labels, as it adds a little bit of 'home' in the kitchen. You don't have to use baby jars, they are super easy and a great size for herbs but if you start looking at the jars you throw away- you will be amazed with the quality of glass shapes and lids you can reuse. Save a few over the next month or so and you'll know what I mean :)
I use this dehydrator http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-FD-75A-600-Watt-Food-Dehydrator/dp/B0090WOCN0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378349165&sr=8-1&keywords=dehydrator Cheap, effective and easy.
You can use whatever dehydrator you like OR you can place your herbs, single layer on a row of paper towels to dry. You can also bunch them together with a rubberband or string and hang them to dry. If you use the dehydrator, they are dried in about 15 hours set at 95 degrees F with 5 racks full. If you chose to dry by hanging or laying on paper towels, it will take about 2 weeks. It is very important that you get your herbs completely dry before storing otherwise they will mold and spoil the entire jar.
After drying, try this awesome crowd pleasing recipe
Herb Crusted Pork Loin
Preheat oven to 475
2 lb pork loin (can be more or less too)
1/2 T. sea salt
2 T. olive oil
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
Mix all ingredients in small bowl, let sit 10-15 minutes. Place loin in a large ziplock and pour marinade over it. Massage the sauce into the loin a bit to get it good and covered. Let sit in fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes at 475, reduce temp to 425 and bake another 25-40 minutes (depending on the size of loin) until the internal temp reaches 145 degree F.Once cooked, let rest 10 minutes on the counter before cooking. This allows the juices to get sucked and dispersed throughout the meat. If cut immediately, you loose the juices to the cutting board.
Goes excellent with steamed broccoli and a baked potato.
You can find more homesteading mayhem at my blog AND 'like' on Facebook at www.facebook.com/modernroots.org for posted recipes and pictures. Happy Harvesting!!!
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