Monday, 26 July 2010

Harvest time: drying things out

Our balcony isn't know for how spacious it is. Especially not with all the plant pots. And it's especially cramped at the moment being cut across with a row of beautiful golden shallots. Briefly they lived in out living room, out of sunlight on baking parchment, a talking point for anyone who dropped by. Then in march they went in to one of our medium sized pots, 34" diameter, in spot that receives partial shade. With a little water and absolutely no fuss each bulb broke into a cluster of stunning autumn coloured gems, growing up and then fattening out. Now they are grown and drying across the balcony to be stored for later use. And that isn't all we are drying out right now.

Hanging in the pantry to dry out is our mint. Next to it, in a more advanced state, is oregano. The drying apparatus is simple. A nail in the wall and a piece of string. The dried mint is to try in a pea recipe I found last week. Apparently it needs to be dried and why go buy some when you have a little box full outside and a couple of weeks to look forward to the taste.

And then we have chamomile. Drying on rack made from a square of wood used for packing furniture with some muslin stretched over. Last year I was afraid of picking the flowers, there seemed so few and surely I wouldn't want a bald plant. But this year I was swayed by logic. The more you pick, the more grow. I knew this, it took a couple of repeats before I believed it. Now I'm picking two or three flowers every other day which will only be a small dent in my chamomile usage but still, makes me happy.

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