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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

HOMEGROWN Life: What’s Growing Where You Are? Preserving Herbs.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011






Our few starts are coming along good -well, except for the leeks, not sure what’s going on there.

Our herbs are doing really well, um, that’s an understatement.  They have taken over.  I thought that by only picking one plant of several varieties, they wouldn’t be enough.  I was so wrong.  I brought home three kinds of mint.  THREE!  What was I thinking.  I planted them in a barrel – I do have some common sense, knowing damn well they could conquer a small country.  I also planted two small lemon balm plants, and rosemary with them.  Poor things, they have no idea.  In another barrel I planted some Italian parsley, fennel, and two varieties of thyme.  No need to guess, the parsley and fennel are taking over that one.

preserving herbs

So, we have a massive amount of mint, parsley.  Here’s what I plan to do to preserve my over abundance.  There are several options of preservation.  Drying or dehydrating, keeping fresh in the fridge(not really preserving anything, but it’s not rotting or going to seed in the barrel), and freezing.   This time I’m going to freeze my herbs.  I have two ways that I like to do that.  First one is to roll into a log, whole leaf.  Wrap in plastic wrap or put into freezer bags, secure with a rubberband or twine and toss into the freezer.

preserving herbspreserving herbs

Second, is to put it into my Bamix processor (mini food processor) with a bit of water or olive oil and blend.  From there,  I put the mix into ice cube trays and freeze.  Once they are frozen, you can pop them out into a freezer bag -pull out just what you need, when you need it.

preserving herbspreserving herbs

With the out of control mint, I harvest and freeze cubes with some water or lemon water.  I then can toss these into iced tea, water, or this yummy drink called Limonata.  A nice quick, refreshing drink made with vodka, San Pellegrino citrus drink, and a mint cube- defintely not child friendly, but oh, so yummy.

preserving herbs

How do you preserve your herbs?


I live in the Pacific Northwest with my non-tree hugging, environmentally friendly, dreamin’-of-farming husband and our four wild, dirt lovin’ kids.  When I’m not writing of the adventures (or misadventures) on our micro-homestead, you might find me stalking Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook.  And since I’m all about multi tasking, I’ll probably be out gardening, baking, menu planning, home-educating, exploring with the kiddos, and scheming on how to get chickens past my HOA.

Why We Farm: Holding On To Basil

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Neysa working 2

A year and a half ago, my husband Travis and I decided we wanted to be organic farmers. Neither of us had a background in agriculture. In fact, I was probably about as disconnected from physical labor as you can get — I was pursuing my PhD. This weekly series will take you through Travis’ and my journey to own and operate our own organic farm. From a farm internship in a tiny New York town, to management positions at the largest CSA farm in the southern United States, and now our current project of running a one-acre farm in Austin, Texas, our experience has been filled with wild successes, sharp disappointments, and self-discovery. I hope our story can provide others with ideas and resources for their own farming projects–urban or rural, big or small, hobby or professional. I also hope it can shine some light on the new organic movement surging in urban spaces and among America’s young people. To me, our collective attempt to reconnect with food is a testament to the ability of youth to create, even in difficult times.

I’ve found that living in the northeast teaches you how to enjoy the moment.  It’s mid-September now–the trees are turning brilliant hues of orange and red, the sunlight is bright and soft, and the still-green grass is speckled with lemon and chocolate colored leaves. Autumn in New England might be the most beautiful place in the world, because the beauty is accentuated by a keen awareness that it stands on the precipice of a harsh, unyielding winter.  Days like today, when the temperature reaches into the 70s and the daylight lingers longer than a respectable autumn day should, beckon New Englanders to get in those last moments of sweet open air before they have to resign to winter for the next 5 months.  I certainly can’t be kept inside.  These days, just lying in the grass and looking at the sky is enough for me to be happy.  And it’s more important to me because I know I won’t be able to do it soon.


The Northeasterner’s sense of get-it-while-you-can extends to food, too.  Basil, a very tender and finicky plant, is a farmer’s indicator of the change in seasons.  At the first sign of frost (usually the first week of October), basil’s broad, green leaves wither and turn a midnight black, and it won’t make a comeback until well into the summer months next year.  New Yorkers know this, and at the market this weekend they were buying basil from me by the armfuls.  They would say they were intending to make pesto and freeze it, or just get in as many tomato basil salads as they could.  Eating in season is really nice if you think about it that way–it’s not so much about restrictions, as indulgences.  Stuff yourself with those oily, come-hither leaves to celebrate summer’s last days.


Neysa is currently farming an acre of organic vegetables in Austin, Texas. For updates on her farm, visit or follow her on twitter @farmerneysa

Non-toxic mosquito repellent ideas from HOMEGROWNers

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Last week we asked HOMEGROWNers how they kept the biting bugs away while tending to things outdoors. Black flies and greenheads still perplex us, but folks had several nontoxic mosquito repellent recipes.

  • Emily recommends smoke, citronella and avoiding perfumes, lotions and soaps.
  • Becca says that Neem oil “smells so bad that it keeps EVERYTHING away!”
  • Cammy says that rosemary essential oil on her skin, and spritzed on her clothes and hair does the trick – much like the recipe from Mother Earth News.
  • Cynthia tells us: “Grab a few leaves of lemon balm, smoosh ‘em up and rub on arms and legs. Works great and smells great too.”
  • Dusty Canyon (one of the best facebook page member names that we’ve seen) linked to an article: Plants That Repel Mosquitoes that recommends cultivated and wild plants, as well as cutting down on processed food in your diet (hooray!).
  • Jacqueline reminds us that bats are our best friend when controlling mosquitoes in your area. Have you built a bat house? Here’s an easy how-to from the HOMEGROWN blog about that.
  • Arthur linked to an intriguing idea for taking the itch out of the bites that you do get: Use Scotch Tape or Nail Polish to Relieve an Itchy Mosquito Bite (from Lifehacker).

So we’ve got rosemary, lemon balm, vanilla, and SuzyJ on Twitter suggests basil – Do you have any advice for your fellow HOMEGROWNers?

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