The drying game

..." I´ve had my share of the drying game"...

I´ve learnt how to maximise cropping from our garden by drying some selected herbs and plants. Lemongrass, lemon verbena, basil and bay leaves are among the foliage I have so far experimented with.
As I mentioned in yesterday´s blog I proffered fresh stalks of lemon grass to one of our guests to take home. I used the trimmed foliage from the top of the plant to dry out for tea.I hang it up in tied bundles in the kitchen. When it has dried out completely I break it up into smaller lengths and store it in jars. I apply the same principle to lemon verbena, but in this case, and as is the same with basil, the leaves have to be removed from the stalks once they are dry. These herbal teas are becoming increasingly popular with Casa Rosada guests who like a whimsical bit of afternoon or pre bed-time infusionista in their lives.

..."First there are kisses, then there are sighs
and then before you know where you are
you´re starting to dry"....
If eaten whole, bay leaves impart a pungent and sharp, bitter taste. As with many spices and flavourings,the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste.This is the new foodista thinking, that "flavour is very different from taste because it brings other senses into play — smell, sight, sound, touch and memory".
The general consensus of opinion does not agree about the use of dried or powdered bay leaves. Most agree that it is most succesful if enclosed in muslin, for instance bouquet garni, but if used in some dishes the texture of the dried crumbled bay may not be desirable
So ...."Why there are heartaches and why there are tears".
I just don´t know. It seems quite simple to me. If you dont like the strong flavour dont cause yourself heartaches and tears, use it in moderation.

..."one day soon I´m going to tell the moon about this drying game
and if he knows maybe he´ll explain"...
Bay leaves should only be ground in small quantities as you need them. Their potency fades very quickly and God forbid one doesn´t want jars of musty stale herbs occupying valuable storage space in ones larder.
Bay leaves can be scattered in the pantry to repel moths flies and beetles. The Romanies place a dried Bay Leaf underneath their pillow on St. Valentine's Day. It is believed that the leaf causes the user to dream of his or her future marriage partner. 
Enough is enough!!!!

..."Don´t want no more of the drying game."

STOP PRESS COMING SOON!!! -watch out for our companion blog - all new  o jardinheiro este algarve a photo journal/ diary of what is good and whats happening on the Casa Rosada horticultural front, written by the inhouse gardener.


  1. We have a small herb patch too.I love to see dried herbs tied in bundles.
    I'm experimenting with freezing,the woody herbs freeze perfectly but I've been told some of the soft herbs freeze well too though cant confirm as yet!
    Must try the herbal tea idea.


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