Is this ok? - Lemon Balm

sphinxfaceSeptember 6, 2013

So I have lots of lemon balm growing in my yard now, and I've recently tried drying some by hanging sprigs upside down in a paper bag. Though the leaves are kind of pliable, I was thinking maybe they were supposed to be crumbly? I think one mistake I made was not letting them air dry over night. Are the pliable leaves ok to put in a container and make tea with?

As a side note I'm thinking of trying some sheep and wood sorrel too, so feel free to comment about that if you have any advice :)

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zzackey(8b GA)

I just cut the lemon balm fresh and make a tea out of it. I never seem to get around to drying any herb. I just cut some and put it in a little vase on my bright kitchen windowsill. I've rooted several herbs this way. Not on purpose! We use fresh basil on homemade pizzas and I always tend to cut too much of it. Can't dare throw it out!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 4:37PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Is there a reason you put them in a bag? It's common for hanging seed plants to keep from losing the seeds, but not always needed for just drying herbs. If the herb is still pliable, it may not be dry enough, but it's safe to use until it starts molding--that's what will happen with semi-dried herb. You'll smell that before you use it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 6:46PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

There is no need trying to put in a bag, unless:
== you cannot hang them or spread them
== you want to collect seeds from them.

ABOUT Dryness: Better to be crumbly. Then it will store safely.
Store in sealed container (zip bag is fine)and possibly keep in dark place. Lemon balm dries and stores well. All you want it until the next season, right?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:00AM
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I read that the paper bag absorbs moisture? I also read to dry herbs in a dark place and not in direct sunlight, is that true also?

And zackey, how do you make tea from the fresh leaves? Just curious cause I've only ever done that once with lavender and it tasted like grass :P

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:01PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

The paper might theoretically absorb some moisture, but it also contains it and keeps the herbs from getting good airflow to dry. Yes to the dark place--sunlight is not good for drying herbs. A dark place with good airflow is what you need. If it's a basement or garage with no airflow, then a fan greatly helps.

For fresh leaf tea, you simply pour the boiling water over the leaves. You'll have to do some experimenting to figure the strength and amount you prefer. If you used lavender leaf, I haven't ever tried tea from that. Use dried in some cooking, but generally make lavender tea from buds.

Another thing you might try is a simple syrup--sugar and water heated to boiling and dissolved, then add leaves and steep as long as you want. Then you can add that to other teas. The syrup will last a while when kept in the fridge, but only make small batches. It can also be frozen.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 1:10PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

ABOUT Paper bag.
You always dry herb out of sunlight and in darkness as much as possible . Same way you store them.
As mentioned hanging by itself(or spreading) is better because of air flow.

How to make herb tea:
Just put a handful in a tea pot, pour boiling water over it an let it brew for 10 minutes. If the brew was to strong, just dilute with more hor water.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Just wanted to let you know that Lemon Balm loses most of its flavor when dried, so using it fresh is the best. :)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 10:50PM
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