Tamara Stimpson

What I usually do is wash and thoroughly dry them, then lay the leaves or sprigs out on a cookie sheet. I place the whole cookie sheet in the freezer - after a short while the herbs will freeze and then you can just collect them and put them in sandwich bags stored in your freezer for future uses in vinaigrettes, meat rubs, stirring in roasted veggies etc. I also like to incorporate them into my salads (and since we have so many greens, I'm sure you'll be preparing salads!)


To dry the herbs, simply ensure that they have plenty of air flow so mould won't occur. Leaves are best dried on the stem and hung at a good distance from the wall. When the leaves are crisp they're ready to be gently stripped from the stem and crumbled between your fingers. Store dried herbs in glass or ceramic jars. Ensure that the jars are not in direct sunlight and heat since this diminishes the flavour. For a natural air freshener, grind dried sage or thyme leaves to a powder. Place on a flameproof dish and set it alight.


Herbal tisanes or teas are the most common home remedy and sage is excellent for easing cougs, sore throats and indigestion. Thyme is commonly used for cold, indigestion and asthmatic complaints. To make a tea, add two level teaspoons ofdried herbs or two level tablesponsfuls fo fresh herbs for each cup. Place the herb in a warmed teapot, measure and pour in the boiling water and cover. Leave the infustion to steep for 10 to 15 mins (no longer) before straining and consuming.


As well, you can use the fresh thyme to create a bath sachet - simply tie the leaves and flowers into a piece of cheesecloth and suspend the sachet below the hot water faucet of your bath. It is considered to be stimulating and cleansing for the skin.


Another use could be to use 10 tbsp chopped thyme or oregano, which you pound to a paste and put in a heatproof container. Heat 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar in a non-reactive pan and bring to the boil. Pour it over the herbs and let cool after stirring well. Pour the herb and vinegar into a sterilized jar, cover and set aside for 3 weeks, shaking or stirring 1x or 2x's a day. Strain the vinegar into sterilized bottles. Add 1 -2 sprigs of the herb to the bottle. Seal and store in a cool place. These vinegars are perfect for marinades, casseroles, sauces and salad dressings! (The recipe makes 2 1/2 cups) Do something similar to create herb oils (lovely for garlic breads or to dress salads!) Use 6tbsp of the pounded herbs and 2 1/2 cups of the best olive oil you can get.


Lastly I also like to occasionally add a few sprigs of fresh sage to the water when boiling potatoes, carrots and/or parsnips. It infuses the veggies with flavour!