Sunday, July 10

Preservation from the Garden

Summer is progressing nicely here in northern Virginia.  Some of the plants and seeds we planted in the garden have not done well.  However, enough of the plants are very happy that our garden looks like a jungle.  Having lots of some herbs,  I have decided to venture into the art of preserving our garden produce.  My first attempt has been with drying herbs. I have had moderate success drying camomile flowers.  This time, I decided to try drying some of our basil.  Basil has a very high moisture content when picked.  This means that I can't dry it in a paper bag on the counter the way I have been drying the camomile; it would spoil before it dried.  So, I decided to try drying it in the oven.  I turned the oven on the lowest setting while I prepared the basil leaves, turning it off just before I put the leaves in.  The heat was to get rid of the majority of the humidity in the oven.  I turned the oven on for a few seconds again before turing in for the night.  The basil was in the oven for approximately 10 hours.  As you can see in the before and after pictures, the basil shrunk a LOT in the drying process.  I am storing the leaves in a cleaned glass jar.  We may not know how effective this preservation technique was until sometime this winter, after fresh basil is no longer an option.  I may try ice preservation next time I preserve basil.  Has anyone else ever tried preserving their garden produce?  Any success stories?  Please share in the comments.

Friday, July 1


Working a full time job and owning a very energetic puppy has had two effects on my crafting.  First, I have lots of inspiration.  I have plans for a puppy carrying purse that currently qualifies as a work-in-progress, half assembled in the basement.  I would like to make a nice vest to go over my button up shirts and have some sketches for that.  How ever the second effect is that I no longer have the energy to really work on more than one project at a time.  As you can see from the picture, though I have made progress on my socks, I still have a long way to go.

Some of you may have noticed Udvar sunning himself in the background.  This is in part because he loves lying in the sun and in part because he is all wet.  You see he had his first bath today.  I wa not the only one involved in this process.  My sister gave me her old dog shampoo, my younger brother helped with judicious application of bacon and my folks contributed the VERY deep sink.  Helpful since Udvar doesn't like getting wet.  However, quality time in the sun has dried him off sufficiently for me to consider puppy cuddle time while I try to make progress on my socks.  Until next time!