Kids Harvest and Preserve Herbs

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Kids can pick organic herbs fresh from the garden for dishes to add flavor and nutrition. Pick herbs early in the morning. Before the winter frost, kids can harvest herbs at their flavor peak just before they bloom. Herbs can be preserved by drying, freezing, and mixed in oil, vinegar, or liquor. To harvest seeds, like fennel, dill, and coriander, kids can watch seeds ripen, catch them in a paper bag, and dry them completely indoors in the bag. To dry fresh herbs, kids can harvest stems with leaves, flowers, and buds, like sage, rosemary, and thyme. Arrange the herb in small bunches and tie a string around the stems at their base and hang them upside down to dry in a dark moisture free place, like the pantry. To catch seeds, place a paper bag over the herb as it hangs to dry. Another way to preserve herbs is to freeze them as the herb’s flavor is closer to fresh than a dried herb’s flavor. Kids can separate the herbs, like basil, dill, chives, and parsley, and cut with scissors into small shoots or leaves. Pack each herb in a sealable plastic bag squeezing out the air and freeze immediately. Herbal flavored vinegars add magic to salads. Kids can put chopped fresh basil, rosemary, or oregano in a clean glass jar. Pour organic apple cider, rice, or red wine vinegar into the jar, cover, and let it sit two to four weeks. By adding a teaspoon of a particular organic herb, kids can transform an ordinary dish into a gourmet feast.

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