Drying Fresh Herbs

Drying fresh herbs yourself is easy, saves money, and gives the best flavor. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Almost everything I cook has a fresh or dried herb in it—and even if you barely cook, I’d bet you have at least a couple of jars of dried herbs in your kitchen. But as I explain this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, drying fresh herbs yourself, whether homegrown or store-bought, is an easy DIY project that will result in far better flavor and cost far less than commercially packed jars of dried leaves.

The column focuses on tips that will help you successfully dry a range of fresh herbs, but the first step may be to grow your own. Many herbs grow well in pots on a windowsill or deck. If you have more space, you can plant many types of perennial herbs now and see them pop up on their own year after year. Some can even grow until they produce seeds that you can save to cook with or to replant, such as fresh cilantro and its seed, coriander. And like sourdough starter, herbs love to be used: the more you cut them to use fresh or to dry, the more they grow and produce.
Learn about drying and using herbs

Prepare to Dehydrate

Dehydration is simple and handy in the kitchen and on adventures.  Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
As you prepare to preserve your harvest, it’s easy to overlook a simple and effective technique: dehydration. The process provides nutritional, flavor, and storage benefits and both preserves and enhances a surprising range of foods. Dried foods are handy not just in your kitchen but also in your child’s lunchbox, the stem bag on your bike, the front pouch on your daypack, and your ski jacket pocket.

Like most preservation techniques, dehydrating has pros and cons. On the upside, dehydrating intensifies the flavor of food, saves space, and needs little hands-on time. On the downside, food that isn’t fully dried or properly stored can mold. And although you can dehydrate in open air, you’ll get the best control over moisture, heat, and other factors is you use a dehydrator.
Learn to dehydrate and make Marinated Dried Tomatoes

Prepare to Preserve

Whatever your type of produce, storage space, or free time, you can save your harvest. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
How’s your garden growing? If it’s anything like mine, you’ve moved beyond planting to weeding and harvesting—and harvesting, and harvesting. With so much food coming ripe so quickly, it’s time to dig out the canning kettle, dehydrator, crocks, and other preservation tools that will let you enjoy homegrown (or farm fresh from a CSA) produce the rest of the year.

Later this month, I’ll be teaching a free online workshop through Free the Seeds that focuses on preparing to preserve your harvest. It’s a big topic, with far more information than I can share in one session, so I’ll be expanding on that topic all month here at Twice as Tasty. Be sure to join me online July 15 so that I can answer your questions directly (sign up for the Free the Seeds mailing list to receive a registration email), and then check back here for additional tips, tools, and recipes that save your harvest. You’ll also find pages of information on basic tools and techniques here.
Read more about preparing to preserve

Gifting Food

With a little thought, you can make your food gifts the highlight of someone’s holiday season—and of yours. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
With the holiday season on your doorstep, you’re likely planning meals and buying and making gifts. If you’re like me, you’re preparing to give the gift of food. It may not sound as sexy as an Apple AirPod or gravity blanket, but when you’ve taken the time to make it, package it, and set it aside with a specific person in mind, it carries far more love.

Still, giving and receiving food has its challenges. I’m not talking about the effort you put into preparing it, which you’ve likely already planned into your schedule and budget. I’m talking about ensuring your hard work will truly be appreciated by the receiver—and about how you, when you’re the receiver, can value what’s been created for you. With a little thought, you can make your food gifts the highlight of someone’s holiday season—and of yours.
Read more about gifting food