IMG_7281what started as a small container of rosemary when we first moved in last august bloomed into a literal obsession- attempting to grow my own spice cabinet and herbal apothecary.

spearmint, peppermint, coconut and chocolate mint, greek oregano, spicy oregano, lavender, hyssop, lemon balm, orange and lemon thyme, lemongrass, epazote, marjoram, parsley, dill, chives, sage and chervil.IMG_7283IMG_7285obviously this sort of bounty required preservation, and tying bundles to hang around the kitchen just didn’t cut it. about three months ago i sprung for a four-tiered drying rack…the kind most people would probably dry their laundry delicates on. it wasn’t cheap (about $25) and when i took it out of the packaging, i was floored by its size. pangs of guilt. IMG_7284but after hanging it on a corner of the covered patio, it only took a day or two to get used to its appearance. and beyond that, it only took about a week for its cost to be more than justified. this is the EASIEST and most gratifying way to dry all of my own herbs– and now our pantry is completely loaded with containers of organically-grown goodness. IMG_7290in the midst of summer, i can take a massive cutting of mint or oregano and the leaves will be completely dry and ready for jars in less than two days. some thicker herbs such as sage or lavender leaves take a day longer to dry thoroughly. IMG_7291if there’s any question about residual moisture, i keep the jars of herbs uncovered for a week or so in the kitchen– as the lid would encourage rot or mold. now that the pantry is fully stocked, i’m looking forward to experimenting with different herb blends for dry rubs etc. this is an excellent method for drying the creosote cuttings that i use to make tinctures. i’ll elaborate on this later. IMG_7292