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What to do with herb plants at this time of the year?

(20 Posts)
vegasmags Sun 06-Sep-15 14:49:11

I've got quite a few herbs still growing in the garden - rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, oregano, chives, bay and tarragon. I usually just ignore them in the winter, but can I dry or freeze any of them? If so, what's the best method?

annodomini Sun 06-Sep-15 15:39:48

Most of those can be dried and there are several that I prefer to freeze: parsley, lovage, chives, mint. You can leave your bay tree because it's evergreen and leaves can be cut for use at any time, though if it's in a pot, it can be killed off by frost. I've lost two in the past five years but the one I have now is planted in the garden and flourishing.

vegasmags Sun 06-Sep-15 17:12:45

Thanks for that anno - I'll get on the case. My bay is also in a pot so I'll transplant into a sheltered spot.

Nelliemoser Sun 06-Sep-15 17:57:24

Chop them and freeze them.
The tougher the leaves the more frost proof they seem to be.
Rosemary is as tough as old boots if it's an established plant.
Thyme is ok.
Sage is usually ok.

Freeze this lot before they go manky.
Curly Parsley freezes very well. I buy big bunches when I can.
Coriander needs freezing. It tastes OK but does not look good.

vegasmags Sun 06-Sep-15 18:04:17

Right - looks like fine weather tomorrow so that's my first job of the day. Thanks.

TriciaF Sun 06-Sep-15 18:59:06

In my gardening magazine there was an item about sage - evidently this is a good time to rejunenate the plant by uprooting it, split in 3 or 4 pieces with a large knife and replant the pieces in a sunny spot. Water regularly (if there's no rain.)
Trim the plant back first by a third.
I might do this, but I don't use much sage.

kittylester Sun 06-Sep-15 19:20:59

I left my sage over winter and it is now enormous and has swamped the parsley, chives and coriander. Luckily we love fried/roasted sage!!

kittylester Sun 06-Sep-15 19:21:48

I left my sage over winter and it is now enormous and has swamped the parsley, chives and coriander. Luckily we love fried/roasted sage!!

kittylester Sun 06-Sep-15 19:22:17


Nelliemoser Sun 06-Sep-15 19:23:18

Kitty I have hacked my sage and the rosemary plants back several times.

loopylou Sun 06-Sep-15 19:42:24

You could make herb oils - use good olive oil, and give as presents.
Basil oil is lovely too.

TriciaF Mon 07-Sep-15 18:44:42

I wonder what people use their herbs for? Different herbs for different recipes.
eg I have a good recipe for chicken with rosemary and orange juice.
But mostly I make a bouquet garni with all available, and use it with casseroles of chicken or beef.
Basil is my favourite, and that needs to brought indoors in cold weather.
The others, except parsley, survive outside.

lighteninggirl Tue 22-Sep-15 18:01:24

I make tea with sage it's slightly bitter but I like it.

Purpledaffodil Tue 22-Sep-15 22:21:53

Never bother drying rosemary, bay, thyme or sage as all are hardy and evergreen. In fact have own quaint Christmas custom of picking sage in the dark on Christmas morning. Always have basil in pot from supermarket on windowsill. Recent discovery is Tashkent mint which is large leaved and fairly hardy too. I believe it is used in mint tea?
Herb oils are a brilliant idea Loopylou. Thanks!

janerowena Tue 22-Sep-15 22:32:48

I make a gallon of lavender oil every year, I use it on my hair and skin, and give some bottles as gifts.

I have to bring in summer savory, lemongrass, Vietnamese coriander and tarragon. I prefer to dry my herbs, although frozen parsley is perhaps better than dried. I've never had much success with growing herbs indoors, maybe because I don't have a sunny kitchen windowsill, but even in the sitting-room with lots of light and heat they don't do well.

granjura Wed 23-Sep-15 10:50:20

How do you make lanvender oil please?

As we live in a very cold climate with tons of snow- I just cut down most herbs and they will happily come up again late Spring. Tarragon, all sorts of minths, including spearmint, garden mint, apple mint, melissa, etc. I shall pot up the rosemary, lemon verbena (I cut it every few weeks to dry the leaves for tea, often mixed wiht meliisa (lemon mint) and bay, and will bring in to a cool place indoors. The other plants like fennel, etc, will die and I will buy again next year.

janerowena Wed 23-Sep-15 18:29:02

I make it in very large amounts, you can use almond oil or olive oil, the cheap stuff is fine.

Fill a cooking pot with lavender flowers, quite tightly, pour in the oil until it is covered. Bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer for half an hour. Allow to cool overnight. Strain for several hours, don't squeeze if you want it to stay slightky clear.

At this point, if you don't mind spending money, you can break a couple of vitamin e capsules into it, or add a few drops of lavender oil. The liquid will smell and look like nothing you buy in a shop, but it has a lovely warm smell.

janerowena Wed 23-Sep-15 18:32:35

Just pour into bottles. I use dark ones when I give it as gifts, because the colour isn't beautiful, but I love being able to afford to smother myself in it at very little cost, and it soon soaks into my skin. If you don't mind it being cloudy, you can squeeze the straining bag, which I do. I keep all the oily flowers and burn them a little at a time on the fire, it smells wonderful when I light it, as does the room the box of them are sitting in.

granjura Wed 23-Sep-15 18:46:35

Thanks- what do use it for though?

janerowena Wed 23-Sep-15 22:53:16

I use it all over me! Especially after a bath. I do a lot of gardening, so on my forearms all throughout the summer, as they get very dry. As soon as I have got dressed in the mornings I put it on my hands, face, neck and chest, and often some on my hair if it seems a bit dry, I leave it in for an hour or so and then wash my hair as normal. Excellent on dry skin on feet. My skin is much drier now that I am getting older, but I refuse to buy expensive creams and lotions.