Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Havesting Herbs - Tips to Take

Apart from eating herbs the most rewarding facet is the harvesting of you home-grown produce. Picking a bunch of fresh herbs to use for cooking is a pleasure everyone can enjoy. With this there is a danger that when this is done, you don't ruin further growth and sustainability of the herb plant.

The secret is to use a little at a time. A few leaves added to a salad or a marinade is fine. Al that needs to be done is pinch the leaves off with your fingers. Don't tug and pull, the whole stem may well come off if you do. Apart from battering the herb plant it will leave enough leaves in place for the plant to continue growing unaffected and provide more produce later after a further period.

If the season is now at an end you may want to harvest the whole plant and preserve it use out of season. This is where the whole plant can either be dug up or cut down from the base of the main stem. This can then be prepared for freezing, dried or used as it is as an ingredient to other preserves such as vinegar or dressings.

Try to pick a dry day to harvest your herbs late morning onwards is good when all the morning moisture from the dew has evaporated. Make sure you harvest before the plants have flowered. The oil content in the herbs' leaves are at their peak just before flowering starts. Deadhead the flowers from the herb for it to keep producing as many leaves as possible.

Try to plan your harvest on the same day you intend to use them. This way there will be no lost of flavour or freshness.

You need a little patience to wait until the herb plants have fully developed into adult plants that will be robust enough to take a picking or two and recover with ease. And then you should never cut more than a third of the plant in one picking. The plant will need time to recover and regain its grow after this.

If you have no nails to pinch the leave off use a sharp pair of scissors and try to make sure it is done is a clean and clinical way.

Most herbs that are annual, such as basil and parsley should be topped off when harvesting. Only take leaves from the growing tips of the plants, the herb will then go on to produce more leaves and fewer flowers. In essence you are providing the herb with an extended life of production by doing this.

After harvesting, the herbs should be rinsed in clean cold water, which will give then the signal, just like rain does to keep their flavour and colour closed in.

Harvesting is one of the most enjoyable aspects of growing herbs. With this advice you should not spoilt or kill and crops you have taken the time and effort to grow.

Finally, make sure the children are part of the harvest help; this will ensure that there will be another generation who carry this wonderful pastime. A child’s memory of a harvest will be remembered for a lifetime.


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