Paper Bag Herbs

An essential part of any veg garden is herbs & in our second year of gardening ours was relatively successful. I say relatively because we had some great bounty and some skinny & skimpy little ones.

Basil & coriander? Not so much this year. Now basil & coriander are kind of important to a great summer garden. I mean you can make neither a caprese salad nor delicious fresh salsa with a conspicuous lack of basil or coriander. Succulent summer tomatoes sit neglected with none if these tasty herbs to dress them up and take them out.

Our lack of these essential herbs was so conspicuous this year that I ended up yanking out the spindly, wilted, crinkle-edged basil & coriander plants by midsummer. Salsa and salads were dressed by herbs from the market or even-gasp-the grocery store.

That being said we had an overabundance of marjoram. I’m sorry, let me rephrase that–you know Audrey, the mutant plant from Little Shop of Horrors? Picture that, but a little more fragrant and that’s what we’re talking about here.

We overwintered the marjoram as well as thyme, sage & tarragon. All of these did pretty well & this year we also added rosemary & lavender. All of these herbs did well.

None of these goes great with tomatoes.

However these herbs are great in lots of other recipes which is why our herb harvest is now drying, upside-down, housed in paper bags in my closet. If I had another dark, cool place like a basement or a pantry they’d be drying there, but no. Now every time I reach for a sweater I have to push some the makeshift drying rack (a wire hanger) out of the way.

Oh, and my clothes smell kinda earthly & aromatic. That’s not weird, right?


  1. November 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Oh! So THIS is what you’re supposed to do with your herbs! My hubby and I were wondering what the solution was just the other day. We thought maybe we were supposed to freeze them or something.

    • stuckinlodiagain said,

      November 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      Yes, bundle them all up with the stems in one hand & leaves pointing down, then put the bundle in a paper bag gathering the top of the bag tightly with an elastic band or a twist tie at the top (I think you want the least amount of air possible in there). Then hang them upside down from the bundled end in a relatively dark space for about 2 weeks. One thing I think I forgot to do which would be a good idea? Start by washing the fresh herbs… I think I’ll have some dried dirt in with my dried herbs…

  2. Mum said,

    November 9, 2010 at 1:14 am

    You didn’t give the sage enough credit–it was gangbusters. Pasta with brown butter and sage? Nuff said….

  3. Julie said,

    January 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Just a tip about basil which I think comes from my friend Kate Hemblen…basil thrives on being used. If you leave it to grow and grow it will just go to seed. So make sure you keep using it and do so by pinching off a pair of leaves opposite to each other – but leaving the other two for next time.

    And your sage was very useful and lovely in my Christmas stuffing…why is it that stores around here don’t seem to stock dried or fresh sage anymore?

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