Exquisite Practices, Lush Life: Week 3

Learn how to dry herbs plus another gratifying herb garden recipe…

Now that we’re herb garden experts (check out Lush Life weeks 1 and 2 about growing and using fresh herbs) let’s delve into dried herbs. Drying your herbs is quite easy and worth doing once you consider how irritating it is to discover, once you’ve finally committed to baking that fresh bread you’ve been promising yourself for nigh on 3 years, that your store-bought dried herbs expired in 2006. Once you have your herb garden going, it becomes part of the process to harvest and dry them at the end of the growing season.

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To dry your herbs, simply cut them down, bundle them loosely in small bunches and wrap them in paper (not plastic) to protect them from dust. Hang them upside down in a warm, dry place for about 10 days. You’ll know they’re completely dry when they crumble easily. Finally, crush the leaves between your fingers, discarding the stems and leaf stalks. Store in labeled jars away from sunlight. Dried and fresh herbs are used differently and for different recipes, but the health benefits carry through no matter where you use them.

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Yogurt Herb Health Bread:

I can’t take credit for this one. It’s straight from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions — worth a read for the truth about the healthiest foods and eating habits. This is a dense, moist bread and is best served toasted with grass-fed Irish butter and a cup of coffee.

Ingredients

3 cups spelt flour (you can also use kamut or whole wheat). If you have a Vitamix, buy the berries and make your own freshly ground flour. It’s the healthiest and tastiest way to go!

2 cups whole plain yogurt

½ cup filtered water

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

¼ stick melted butter

⅓ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon dried dill

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried tarragon

Preparation

Mix flour with yogurt and water, cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours. Bread will rise better if soaked for 24 hours.

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Place flour mixture in food processor and process for several minutes to knead the dough. Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended. Pour into a well-buttered and floured loaf pan (preferably stoneware). Bake at 350º for at least 1 ½ hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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+See all posts in our Exquisite Practice series!

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