Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Strung up and bagged

The weather is cold and close to rain. I can tell by the way the kids, cat and dog are all acting up. Everyone seems to be in agreement that in the next 24-48 we will be seeing rain, a couple days earlier than the app on my phone says it will be here. I suppose we are about to find out which is right: the app or the kids, cats, dogs.

With that being said and the air being decidedly cooler, I have been trying to get in the last of this years magic flowers, leaves and herb harvest in quickly and drying them before the plants decide it's too cold. This last batch was a bunch of lemon leaves and Mum blossoms. I decided to compare drying processes on the mums to see which would work best. I strung up about half of the harvest and placed the rest in a paper bag that I shook up a few times a day to make sure things all got air.

The thing that I noticed it that really they both took a bit of effort and both worked very well. With stringing up the blossoms there was a lot of work in the beginning and then you could just let them hang on the rack with no worries. If you use the paper bag method, you will be saving work in the beginning, but you will have to be vigilant about the bag shaking through out the whole process.

When stringing up the blossoms it is important to make sure the blossoms are firm so they won't fall apart as you do so. You will also want to be using 2 threads of cotton embroidery floss on a thin needle for the same reasons. If you have many blossoms to string up, it is recommended that you work in small batches while the rest of the blossoms remain in the fridge.

It took about two weeks on a hanging rack for the blossoms to be completely dry and ready to store but as  extra caution I will leave them in a paper bag to breathe for a couple days before I put them in plastic. There is nothing more disappointing than to botch a batch! Mold is NOT your friend here. You will have to toss the whole batch if mold begins to grow.

My hibiscus is still putting out blossoms like crazy so that seems to be an endless chain of drying process with them. I put them on the clean altar to dry sort of in order of which I gathered them: newest to driest and leave out a bag for them to go into as they dry completely. I wonder how long I will be doing that in a season? I suppose I am about to find out.

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