Preserving the flavor

It has been raining on and off for the past three days here on Long Island, but I can’t complain as our garden is looking once again very happy. Yesterday afternoon, I saw that a few tomatoes were starting to change color, so I went with a bowl to start collecting them. Big let down…I guess the branch I saw yesterday was the only one with ripening tomatoes. Luckily there are still many branches full of green tomatoes in all stages of development so perhaps next week is the true beginning of our tomato season.

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Since everything looked good, and there was little bit of rain in the air, I decided to clip some oregano and dill as the plants are getting very bushy, and I have had to clip their flowering ends quite often lately.

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Our oregano comes from a single plant that we bought maybe 17 or 18 years ago at a local nursery. When we bought it they told me it was called Greek Oregano, but my Greek friends tell me it does not look anything like theirs… It is a tough plant growing to about a foot in height with very aromatic leaves the size of a dime to a penny. It is very hardy, we have transplanted it everywhere in our garden and have given some away to whoever wants to grow it.

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The dill, on the other hand, is a recent addition to our garden. I had planted a few seeds last year that ended growing nicely and self propagated themselves. They now grow in between our celery and basil.

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I like picking all herb early in the morning, long time ago I read somewhere that at that time the flavor was always strongest. There is nothing like freshly picked herbs, but unlike basil, we cannot use all the oregano we pick at one time.

To preserve what we may use within a month, I blend a bunch of fresh leaves with olive oil. We keep the paste in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, and use it to brush on garlic bread, pizza dough or vegetables to be roasted, or by the pinch in any other recipe.

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I usually air dry the bulk of the oregano. I make small bunches of 10-15 branches tied up at the bottom and hang them upside down in my garden shed. Today I also dried the dill and tried a different method drying the oregano in paper bags that I had read up about in Pinterest.  Once fully dry, I collect the leaves and keep them in glass jars, or in ziplock bags if they are to be given away.

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10 thoughts on “Preserving the flavor

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