Well it is the season here in Tassie for drying as much wild harvest as possible, the sun is mostly out and the temperatures are perfect for getting the winter hamper stocked up……
It still get a bit moist of a night so you cant leave thing out as they tend to get soft over night and go moldy it is a pain in the ass you have to bring everything in and out and when you want to do a lot of stuff its a lot of work and you need space to put everything.
I was determined to utilize the sun without causing myself and my back to much work.
One day why I was pulling a big old fridge apart to use as a spud bed and as I was taking the big grill thingy of the back I thought; this is way to good to throw away it has to be good for something or other soI put it aside finished making my spud bed.
Late as I was packing everything away I was looking at the grill and I thought that would actually make a perfect drying rack, it is light because it is mostly copper and wire so would be easy to lift in and out.
The next day I made some handles by platting some aluminum wire I had lying around and attached them to either end of the rack, perfect……. I was quiet impressed with my ingenuity.
I was putting some shade cloth on it to keep the finer particles from falling threw out in my patio when I remembered I’d left some foraged green out in the car the day before so I went to get them out and they were nearly dry…. A light bulb went of in my head and I thought why cant I put everything in the car to dry!!! and luckily my reincarnated drying rack fitted perfectly in the back of my wagon, I have it propped up on crates that I can put other things in to dry as well.
So my car is now full of a multitude of different plants drying, the smell is over powering when you first open the door but then it become pleasant.
When my dad opened the door to get something out of the car he said “Jezz you will get high drivin round in that, I’m not gettin in there with that smell” and I said well now you know how I feel when you get in the car with after bloody shave on, at least this is natural!!! And it is way better than those awful smelly poisonous things people hang in their cars thats for sure…..
Everything just stays in the car I don’t take it out when I want to go anywhere, I just drive around with it all in the car I had a chuckle to myself the other day I thought how funny it would it be if the cops looked in there, they wouldn’t know where to start…..
Anyway it really works a treat, it beats having to move things everyday and running power to an electric dehydrator.
The only thing I learnt the hard way was you have to actually cover the produce with shade cloth so the direct sun doesn’t burn the foliage…
Depending on the plant material and your weather it is quite a quick drying time, for greens like Nettles and Lemon balm it only took a few days so it is very efficient, I love utilizing the sun to dry my harvest it kind of completes the whole cycle nicely, the wild plants use the sun to grow and I use the sun to dry them so I can grow…… nice 🙂
So yesterday a big lot of my harvest was ready so I processed and bottled everything they look great.
So from left to right I have Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), Nettles (Urtica dioica), Mullein leaf (Verbascum thapsus) Millein root (Verbascum thapsus) and Bay leaves (Lauras nobilis)…..
I use the Nettles in everything stews, eggs, muffins, sauces and as a tea etc. Nettle is the green I use most in my diet now I absolutely love it!
I use the Lemon balm as tea and cooking, I use the Bay for cooking.
I was told the Mullein root was a good pain killer as a tincture but I’m going to try it as a tea as the alcohol for tincture is expensive and I’m experimenting with the Wormwood and Mullein for smoking as a sedative and pain killer but I found it makes my throat sore because I’m not a smoker so rethinking the smoking thing at the moment.
So just now I made some soothing throat candies that have helped heaps so I may as well share this too…
This is just a hard candy recipe and I added a very strong Nettle, Chamomile, Rosemary and Tasmanian Sassafrass bark tea and Honey, grated Ginger, a few drops of Eucalyptus & Tea tree oil it is nice as you finish the candy you get to chew the spicey ginger bits….
So back to the herb drying, getting off the subject a bit so easy to do when there are so many great things to share …
So if you family or friends don’t mind sharing their transport with smelly plants give the car dehydrator a go! psssst and I’m sure if you have sick friends or family over winter they would love these home made herbal soothers! 🙂