Monday, June 30, 2014

Harvesting and Drying Spearmint and a Peek at my Patio Garden

One of my outdoor projects this year has been starting, and keeping alive, my first little patio garden! Since me and my family live in an apartment, and we live on my college campus to boot, plant-growing space is limited. So, when I started thinking about fun projects, I thought of tending to a small garden!
My little garden: orange dahlias, patio tomatoes, dill, spearmint, and Kiddo's hen and chick!
While doing some research on my little plants, I quickly found out that I need to be harvesting my spearmint NOW! Spearmint, and other mint plants, do really well if harvested three times a year: Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Since the first day of Summer was last week, I figured I needed to get on the ball and start working on my Spearmint plant!
Before the harvest...
I brought my little Spearmint plant into my kitchen and, with kitchen shears, gently removed most of the long branches of leaves. I made sure to leave about 2-4 inches of branch on the plant for regrowth. While most mint plants can take a good hacking and grow back stronger, since this was the first season for my spearmint, I took a caution approach and left plenty of plant to grow back.
... and after the harvest!
 While still on the branches, I rinsed the leaves thoroughly in cold water then patted them dry with paper towels. The leaves were then removed and placed in my dehydrator. I think I ran it for about 2 hours and 30 minutes before the biggest leaves were fully dry... It didnt take long at all by dehydrator standards!
Washed, dried, and ready to dehydrate!
There are other ways to dry herbs as well. If you prefer, you can dry your herbs in a warm oven. Or, if you love the traditional way, you can bundle your herbs and hang them upside down in a dry, cool place to air dry for 4+ weeks. I opted to use my dehyrator with my herbs, since I am short on space and time.

I cannot wait to bust these little herbs out in some soap!
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