Do you like to cook?
   Or how about drinking a cup of tea?
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   Do you like to use natural cleaners?
   Do you look for healthy alternatives to using tons of over the counter medications
to keep your family healthy?

If your answer to any of the above questions is YES, then it is high time for you to purchase a dehydrator, and start growing and drying your own herbs.

To date, my most popular series has been the Making DO Without Missing a Thing series that I have often steered many of you towards as you write me with questions about learning to save money on groceries, etc.

But what quite a few of you DON’T realize, is that I have actually had another series that is quickly catching up to that series just in sheer numbers, questions, and comments as the months pass. A couple of the posts are now over 6000 reads since March, and I would greatly encourage you to check it out if you are interested in learning more about starting an herb garden, learning their uses, and especially, for learning how to use herbs in preventative health for yourself and your family. Click the link below to head over there and see what so many others are finding fascinating about herbs and their direct impact on your health.

   I absolutely love growing herbs as they are easy, very pretty, and incredibly prolific if given the right conditions. I am excited for a couple things coming up here in the next year at the Welcoming House. One is putting the Growing Your Own Medicine into an E-book for everyone to have at their fingertips, along with adding other herbs.
   A second is adding another installment to that very popular series by covering the herbs I simply could not squeeze in during that short time period.
   And the third is finally, next Spring, building a keyhole garden to hold all my herbs and medicinal plants, as a centerpiece for the front yard.
   All of those are very exciting times ahead for me, and so I am always glad to have a post where I can share my love of herbs and using them with you!!
   Herbs are one of the very easiest things to dry. You really dont even need a dehydrator, as they have been dried for centuries when put out of the sun, and hung high in a drafty place where you can keep them out of the way for a week or so. I choose to dry mine in the dehydrator just because I often get so busy I forget about things, and have had to toss herbs due to the collection of dust and dirt from the accumulation of a month. In my dehydrator they are done in a few short hours, and into a jar, sitting pretty on the shelf.
   I dry my herbs right around 115*, which on some dehydrators would be low. If you have a dehydrator that has no temp regulation, you will need to watch carefully, as herbs can brown on too high of heat. If that is the case, there is mostly loss and they will not taste the same, so you might be better off to hang them.
   Herbs should be picked first thing in the morning, unless it has rained, and then better to wait for another day. Their oils are freshest first thing in the morning, and you will find a much better end product if you pick and dry right away. If, say, you have a large patch of mint, better to pick and dry as much as you can load in one day in your dehydrator, than trying to pick it all at once and keep it fresh in the fridge until you get done with it. I always say it stays fresh in the dirt until you pick it, when it comes to herbs. I tend to get gung-ho and take way too much, and then run around trying to figure out how to use it before it wilts and becomes useless.
   One of my very favorite homemade tea blends use two things we have so far covered in this mini-series—dried apples, and sweet basil leaves that I have dried.
   Combining the two somehow results in an amazing, sweet and comforting tea, that has a calming effect, and is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching the fall rains come down the windowpanes. I plan on including my tea blend recipes for you in the next couple of days with the other recipes so you can get started learning how to use herbs……..
   I also use herbs in all my cooking. It is a rare meal that does not contain at least one herb, only because it really enhances the dish. I have always cooked by taste, but with herbs I get the delight of cooking by smell as well. Some things just seem to go together, such as tomato soup and tarragon, or sage and turkey with apple dressing. The more I use herbs, the more I find things I love about them, and I am sure you will too.
   Tomorrow I will be doing our usual Almost Wordless Wednesday post filled with pics of what is happening here at the Real Welcoming House, and then on to Thursday, and Friday, which will be chock full of recipes for using dried foods in your every day cooking!
See you right back here tomorrow!
Many Blessings to you and yours,
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