Our first harvest

Filed in Blog by on May 19, 2010 5 Comments
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freshly picked mint

freshly picked mint

Even the simplest harvest fills me with joy. I’m always in awe at the power of mother nature. You chuck in a few seeds, give them a bit of water and hey presto, things grow!

With some things you just let nature take care of itself; once the plant is in, it’s established for life.

We haven’t planted much outdoors yet; our clay soil tends to stay cold and wet for a long time, but the potatoes are in and this week I went outside to weed around them. I ended up with a basket full of mint!You may remember that Granddad Green declared his home made mint teabags, which Little Miss green made his for Christmas, were better than anything shop bought.

Mr Green also agreed that they tasted great, so whereas I normally pull up the mint and ditch it, I dried every last sprig instead.

They are now hanging in little bunches from the conservatory roof, ready to be crumbled and made into tea bags. And they couldn’t be simpler to do:

Tie your mint into small bunches of around 5 sprigs in each bunch:

bunches of mint for drying

bunches of mint for drying

Hang them up and within 3 or so days they start to look like this:

Bunches of mint after 3 days

Bunches of mint after 3 days

After a couple of weeks the leaves will be dry and crumbly. Simply remove the leaves from the stalks; it’s easy if you run your forefinger and thumb along the length of the stem (over a tray please, they go everywhere!) and gather the leaves in an airtight container:

dried mint and lemonbalm from the garden

dried mint and lemonbalm from the garden

When you’re ready, put around a desertspoon of the dried leaves into the middle of a square of muslin and tie up. Leave the string long if you like to use like a normal tea bag!

You don’t have to make them into individual bags of course, you can just make a loose leaf tea or use a metal tea ball, like this one:

metal tea ball

As an added bonus, sprigs of mint around your home acts as a fly repellent (which is very useful when your house backs onto fields of horses, like ours does!)

What about you? Last year, John has made spearmint tea, Jen dried her own lemonbalm, Layla was using mint and melissa, Tammy was going to have a go at drying her lemonbalm.

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

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  1. Sarah says:

    I dry loads of Dill every year but for cooking rather than tea.

  2. Mint was one of the few things that used to grow in our old garden so we’ve got a few different types – a few different peppermints including a black peppermint, a couple of spearmints and an apple mint, and my dad brought me another as-yet-unidentified strain this weekend. We mostly use the leaves fresh – for teas and other drinks – but there will be plenty to dry this year too. They’ve all gone a bit mad now they’ve got access to a little sun!

    Aside from the odd few leaves of that, our first harvest this year has been winter gem lettuces. They took a little longer to develop than I’d expected but have been providing us with plenty of salad while we’ve been waiting for the summer salad to grow. A gorgeous deep green and so tasty!

  3. sandy says:

    Wonderful, keep going, you will have loads for the winter. I have had some salad leaves for our tea, I have just sown loads more in old sheep feed containers, now to sit back and wait

  4. Julie says:

    What a brilliant idea. Can you use any mint?

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Sarah: Hi Sarah, I should grow dill too, as Mr G likes it. Last year I dried fennel seeds and they were fantastic. I put them in bread.

    @Louisa @ RecycleThis: Hi Louise, I went out into the garden again and I think I’ve got as much again as I had when I first picked it to dry; so I know what you mean about a little sunshine and mint! The lettuces sound great – enjoy!

    @sandy: Sounds lovely; Mr G is picking salad every day too – it’s like a jungle at the moment 😀

    @Julie: Hi Julie, yep, any mint will do. In fact, any HERB will do; we’ve done fennel and coriander seeds in the past which were really successful.

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