I love, love, love herbs! I love cooking with them, making natural remedies, decorating, cleaning… they are so fabulous! Several of my most viewed posts are about herbs, so I asked on Facebook if I should start doing herbal tutorials. You all gave me a resounding, “YES!”, so let’s get started!
Grow Your Own Herbs
Whenever possible, try growing your own herbs. Use pots, make a raised-bed herb garden, or even put them in your flower bed (make sure not to use any kind of chemicals on them, though!). Here are some of my favorite herbs to grow, which are all wonderful for culinary uses (like in my roasted chicken and potatoes) and for medicinal uses.
Some of the benefits of growing your own herbs are:
- Once you’ve planted them, it is very economical
- Organic growing is easy and cheap
- You will be able to use herbs fresh or dried
- You will have plenty to use whenever you need them
- They are beautiful and smell wonderful
Buy From a Good Supplier
For herbs that you aren’t able to grow, you’ll need to have a good supplier. We have a wonderful local health food store that we like to support (buy local!), but there are some things they don’t have and I don’t grow. For those, we have two places we order from.
- Mountain Rose Herbs: This company has an amazing selection and the quality is always outstanding. Many of their herbs are organic and you can even buy tons of other things, such as carrier oils, essential oils, clays, ready-made natural remedies and more! There is nowhere else that I will buy cinnamon from, because their cinnamon is the best. The customer service has always been great and we’ve never had a problem with anything we’ve ordered.
- The Bulk Herb Store: This is a Christian company with a very good selection of dried herbs and fast shipping. They also have Celtic sea salt (my favorite salt!) and a bunch of wonderful books and DVDs. They don’t have as much of a selection of the “extras”, like essential oils, that Mountain Rose Herbs has, but the quality of their products is just as good.
Storing Dried Herbs
I will have a post soon about several ways to dry herbs if you’re growing your own. These point apply to all dried herbs, whether store-bought or home-grown.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Air-tight containers- Exposure to air will allow the properties of the herbs to deteriorate more quickly. You can just use zip-top bags, but then your herbs are subject to being smooshed (that’s a technical term ) and I really don’t think that anything that might be consumed should be stored long-term in plastic. A better choice would be to buy some plain ol’ canning jars and store your herbs in those. You could also buy metal containers (think: tea tins), but that will get more expensive.
- Darkness- As with air exposure, exposure to light will break down some of the best properties of the herbs. If you’re storing your herbs in tins, then you’re good to go. If you’re using jars, you’ll need a dark cupboard or other place to store them. I keep mine in a dark corner of our basement.
- Cool location- Yep, just like with air and light, heat in your storage place will make the herbs less potent. If you have your herbs stored in a cupboard right up against the side of your stove, you might want to rearrange things. A basement or root cellar really is ideal, since you’ve got cooler temperatures and darkness. If you don’t have a basement, think about the coolest, darkest storage place you have. Coat closet? Linen closet? Pantry?
Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about supplies you need for making herbal remedies, different methods to use and how to do them and many other things. Then, we’ll get into specific herbs. Are you excited, too?!
While we go over the basics, be sure to check out my natural remedy posts that are already available!
- Natural Remedies for Ear Infections
- Natural Remedies for Mastitis
- Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness
- Natural Remedies for Abscesses
- Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
- Top Five Natural Remedies for Summer
Do you have any questions you would like to see answered about using herbs? Any particular herbs you’d like to see highlighted?
Linked up at:
- Growing Home: Teach Me Tuesday
- Far Above Rubies: Domestically Divine Tuesday
- Frugal Days Sustainable Ways
- Wildcrafting Wednesdays
- Little Natural Cottage: Natural Living Link-up
- Thrive at Home Thursday
- Hearts 4 Home
- Your Green Resource