Aug 22, 2014

Dehydrating Herbs - Parsley

This past week has been all about parsley. 

flat leaf parsley

There is only one parsley plant in the garden this year because my family is not a big fan of it.  But I do use it in a handful of recipes so I wanted to replenish my supply.

It's an easy herb to grow from seeds or plant; in the garden, on the deck or in a sunny window.

Herbs are best collected in the early morning. I'll slip on my garden wellies, grab my basket & kitchen shears and head out to the garden. 

I have a small wire fence around the parsley to keep it from laying over when it grows taller. To gather it, I hold a bunch with one hand and snip across the stems near the ground with the other. This time I collected three bunches (most of the plant) and laid them carefully in my basket.

If you're not going to process your herbs right away, place them (their stems) in a jar of water on the counter.

I preserve my parsley by dehydration, then crush it slightly to store in canning jars. 

I use 2 fan-less Ronco dehydrators.
We purchased one 20 years ago & 
another at a yard sale for $3. this past spring.

Here's how I prep it for drying:

Many times I'll leave some stem on my herbs when drying, making it easier to pick up the herbs from the drying trays.

I place my leaves/stems in a salad spinner basket to wash and spin them dry. 

Then they are placed on the dehydrator trays. Parsley will only need two or three hours to dry, so check on it often and rotate trays if necessary.

You'll know the parsley is dry when it crumbles in your hand. It's now ready to store. 

For parsley, I pack the leaves/stems in canning jars, pushing them in as I fill a jar. Depending on how many jars I have and the frequency of use, I will vacuum seal some of the jars for longer storage.

Other notes...
...If you process your herbs in the morning, you'll give yourself plenty of time to finish the full process, especially if you're doing multiple batches, long before bedtime. You do not want to leave your leafy green herbs in your dehydrator overnight!

...When removing your dried herbs from the trays and packing them into your jars, place a clean sheet of wax paper (foil or parchment paper) under your work area to catch all the dried particles that break off in your hands, then pour them into your jar too!

Do you have parsley in your herb garden?
How do you store it?

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Aug 12, 2014

Seashell Candles

seashell candles

Do you collect seashells at the seashore?


Here's a fun idea to use some shells 
for your outdoor decor.

You'll need:
clam shells
clay pot saucer

I used a pack of tea light candles that I picked up at a tag sale for .10 cents. 

tea light candles, wicks removed

The tea lights were my wax & wicks, the wicks have a tiny metal base and slip right out of the candle. Then I dropped the "wickless" candle into a tin can to melt on the side burner of my grill. 

When the wax was completely melted, I dipped the wicks into the liquid wax and placed them in my seashells to secure them. Next, in went the wax. They cooled in minutes.

saucers with seashell candles

I had more wax then shells so I poured the remaining wax in tin cupcake cups to use as wax melts for another craft at a later time!

wax melts

Simple outdoor decor!

Seashell candle outdoor decor

Do you collect souvenirs from your vacations?
How do you display them? 

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Aug 9, 2014

Vintage Dish Towels - what should I do?

Whoa, where is the summer going?!  August has moved right in!

Aside from harvesting & preserving all the lovely produce from the garden this summer, the hubs and I have been hitting as many garage sales, flea markets & tag sales that we can!

I recently found some vintage dish towels for .25 cents. This one is my favorite...lovin' the colors!

Now I have to think of a fun way to display them or maybe re-purpose them.

I'm the mother of boys, so I don't want them used for wiping dirty hands or sopping up spilled iced tea on the floor. I need to be creative!

Any ideas??

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