Drying herbs is a simple way to preserve your favorite fresh herbs all winter long. I recently dried copious amounts of rosemary, sage, mint, oregano, and thyme. Once completely dry, these herbs will last for a few years. I mostly use these herbs for cooking, but mint can be use to make your own tea too. Drying your own herbs is an easy way to preserve your herbs at the end of the season, and aid in your cooking all winter (year) long.
The oldest technique to drying herbs is taking a small bunch, tying it with a string, and hanging it upside down for 1-3 weeks until the herbs have lost all moisture. I hung mine under the stairs/on a shelf and they were all dry about 2 weeks later.
How to dry your own herbs:
Once you are home, wash the herbs and dry them throughly with towels.
Take twine, and a nickel sized bunch of the herb and tie them together at the top.
Leave extra string so you can then tie the herb bundle on a shelf or any spot where it can hang freely.
Allow the herbs to dry for 1-3 weeks until fully dry.
Remove the herbs from the stems and store whole or crushed in a jar with a lid or a bag.
My favorite flours and cornmeals are sourced from Castle Valley Mill. This mill is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and began milling grain on the land in 1730. I order their flour in bulk so I can use it for all my cooking needs. My favorite of their flours is the bolted hard whole wheat.
During the colder seasons, I crave my favorite cornbread recipe to bake and share with family and friends. This cornbread has sweet potato in it to add moisture, along with other simple ingredients you are sure to already have on hand. I usually use leftover sweet potato or squash from a prior meal for this recipe. My cornbread is best when I use Castle Vally Mill cornmeal and flour! Hopefully you find as much joy and cosiness making this cornbread as I do.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Set aside.
Blend the apple cider vinegar, milk, maple syrup, sweet potato, and oil together.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet mixture. Mix until just combined. If the dough looks too dry, add a tablespoon more milk at a time until all the flour has combined and the dough looks moist.
Pour the batter into either a 9-10 inch cast iron skillet or a 9×9 square baking pan.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the cornbread comes out clean.
This recipe is extremely forgiving to those who bake it. Enjoy!
The three products I will show you how to make, which cumulatively utilizes the whole sweet potato are:
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Brownies
Sweet Potato Skin Chips
My favorite technique for cooking sweet potatoes is slow roasting. My recipe for this you can find here. Once you cook the sweet potatoes, you can utilize the following recipes to make sure you get something delicious from the skin and the flesh! (unless you just want to eat the sweet potato whole, which is delicious too)
Add the sweet potato flesh, spices, and milk to a blender and blend until very creamy
Spread the creamy sweet potatoes in a casserole dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium sized pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil, maples syrup and pecans. Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until the maple crystalizes around pecans. Stir frequently. The maple will become sticky right before it crystalizes around the pecans.
Spread the pecans over the creamy sweet potatoes and bake the casserole for 30 minutes until warmed through.
The three products I will show you how to make, which cumulatively utilizes ginger are:
2. Ginger Tea (by-product of making pickled ginger)
3. Chai Concentrate
The spiciness and warmness ginger provides is perfect in these colder months. I love sipping on a chai latte or ginger tea. Pickled ginger lasts for up to a year in the fridge, so you can make a large batch to eat with rice, sushi, or anything else you want. I use it in my homemade peanut sauce as a secret ingredient.
Save those scraps! Even if you are composting, finding a second use for your vegetable scraps is a great way to get the most out of all the food you buy.
Any vegetable scraps can be used for this broth except for large amounts of cruciferous vegetables scraps because they may impart a bitter flavors. I tend to use a majority of onion, carrot, celery, leeks, and kale scraps in my broths. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage are great additions as well. Now that I have so much stock from my vegetables scraps, I have been making amazing soups during these colder months.
When I buy a chicken, I try to fabricate the bird and save the carcass in the freezer until I have enough vegetables for a big pot of stock as well. Then, I will add all the scraps and carcass to the pot and make a chicken scrap broth!
This scrap broth is not an exact recipe, but one that can be easily bent to your preference and ingredients on hand. I fill a pot with about 4-6 quarts of water when I can fill a gallon size bag with vegetable scraps.
Bring the broth to a simmer, then reduce to the lowest setting and cook overnight on low, or for about 5-8 hours.
Strain out the scraps and store the broth in the fridge or freezer for future use in soups, sauces, or anywhere you would usually add water to give your dishes a new depth of flavor.