My husband barreled into the bedroom yesterday morning, rousing me at 6:30am with a certain sense of frenzy as he said, “We have to harvest the herbs and tomatoes tonight! Frost, maybe ice and snow!” In my groggy state of mind I readily agreed—I did not want to waste any of our garden’s bounty! However, it wasn’t until I returned home from work and took a closer look at the truly amazing growth of our plants that I could comprehend how big of an undertaking we were in for! In the steady rain, donning head lamps for the sake of having our hands free to pick, we plucked the green tomatoes from their blighted plants and roughly chopped the thyme and oregano to bring in for preservation. For the moment, since the temperature isn’t too cold yet, we left the sage and rosemary, hoping they are hearty enough to withstand the weather until the weekend.
Our tomatoes are at varying states of ripening. What are your preferred methods of ripening green tomatoes indoors? For the day, they are all on the kitchen table, but I realize I will need to most likely do something to help the green ones along.
We realized we had to “process” the thyme and oregano last night so that it wouldn’t limp, so we jumped right in to cleaning the stems and leaves. We had an enormous pile of each herb! I filled the sink with water and soaked the herbs, shaking the stalks gently to loosen up any dirt or bugs.
Then, working in batches, I spun the stems in the salad spinner to help them dry and spread them on a towel. As they dried, I snipped the stems into lengths of approximately the same size, pulling off any dead leaves as I went. I stripped the leaves off of the last inch or so of stem to make for easy bundling. Grabbing a handful of stems, I lined up the bare ends and rubber banded them together. I made the bands extra tight to allow for the stems to shrink as they dry.
After all the bundles were made, I placed each one in a paper lunch bag with small holes poked in it, banded end towards the opening. I gathered the bag around the stems and added another rubber band. Finally, I hung the bags from our curtain rods to allow for air circulation. I wrote the name of the herb and date on each bag so that I remember to take them down in about two weeks.
We ended up with seven bunches of oregano, plus some saved in the fridge for a last go-round with fresh herbs, and some to take to my coworkers. Thyme was even more prolific, providing us with ten bunches for drying! Woohoo!