A herb is a seed plant with non woody stem unlike a tree. But a herb will live long enough to develop flowers and seeds which wither and die after flowering.
Herbs grow in temperate areas of the world.
Their leaves and seeds are used to flavor foods.
Their flavor comes from oils in the cell walls of the plants.
Dried herbs can be stored effectively up to one year.
Many herbs also are grown for their bright flowers and foliage.
Cooked foods are best if herbs are added during the last part of cooking.
Herbs in uncooked foods, such as salad dressings, dips and fruits, need time to blend flavors, so add them as far in advance of serving as possible.
Wrap whole herbs in a cheesecloth bag before adding them to cooked dishes. This makes it easy to remove them before serving.
Herb leaves, which are to be used fresh, may be picked whenever the plant has enough foliage to maintain continued growth.
Most herbs for drying should be picked just before the flowers open, when the leaves contain the highest content of aromatic, volatile oils.
The stems should be selected and cut individually about 6 inches below the flower buds.
Remove dead or damaged leaves, and wipe off any dust or dirt. If the leaves are very dirty, they may be rinsed gently in cold water and dried with paper towels, or spray with a garden hose the day before harvesting.
Discontinue harvesting leaves of perennials by late summer to allow the plants to store enough carbohydrates for over wintering.
Harvest seed when they change in color from green to brown or grey and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing.
Herbs may be dried by tying the cut stems in small bunches and hanging them in a well ventilated, low-dust, darkened room. The best product will result if leaves are dried rapidly without artificial heat or exposure to sunlight.
Dried herbs can be stored whole or crushed, but whole herbs retain their flavor longer and they can be store well for up to one year.
They should be stored in rigid containers with airtight seals. Examine the jars to determine if any moisture has condensed on the inside of the glass.
Make sure herb leaves are completely dry to prevent mold growth during storage.
They should be store in cool and dry place.