by Heather Harris-Brady
Although you can expect to pay gourmet prices at the store for a jar of blueberry lavender jam, it’s easy to make your own. While you can totally buy dried lavender buds, in part one here I’m going to take you through the process of drying your own herbs in the microwave and making an herb sachet. In part two we’ll get to the jam.
I used to dry herbs in brown paper bags but now I do them all in the microwave. It’s super fast and easy. I grow lots of different herbs in our yard as part of the landscaping, but this time of year you can find them at the farmer’s market or grocery store if you don’t grow your own. If you are using lavender, you should pick it while the flowers are still in the bud stage. Most of the other herbs tend to be leaves (basil, thyme, sage, etc.).
Drying Fresh Herbs
Wash the herbs and lay them out in a single layer to dry on a paper towel. When they are completely dry put the towel on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it on high for one-two minutes.
Take them out and test them. The branches should be completely dry and crispy. The buds will snap right off if you brush them. If yours haven’t reached this point, just put them back in for another minute. Mine sometimes dry unevenly and I will end up putting some of them back in. If you are using the leafy herbs you will be separating the leaves from the stalks.
There you have it! A clean, dry pile of fresh lavender buds. Store your fresh dried herbs in an airtight container until you’re ready for them.
Making a Sachet
I use organic plain muslin for teabags and sachets. A very thin old (clean) handkerchief would work too. Even if your sewing skills leave something to be desired it doesn’t really matter because over time these are going to get stained anyway.
You can make them any size you like. For soups and larger pots you may want to make bigger ones, but here I’m just making a small one out of a 7″ circle. Hem it all around the outside so the muslin doesn’t fray.
To use it, put your herbs in the center of the circle and bundle the edges up.
Tie with a length of kitchen twine, leaving a long tail to help you fish it out later on.
While you can certainly add a drawstring, I like this method because they open completely flat and are easy to clean. For the jam in the next post we’ll be using a sachet with 2 T. of dried lavender buds.
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