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How to dry and preserve medicinal plants

How to dry and preserve medicinal plants

PLANT PREPARATION

The preparation of the various parts of the plant for drying is as follows:

The stems will be tied in bunches and hung upside down, one apart from the other, to allow proper circulation between them.

The leaves and flowers, separately, will be placed on a rack in a single layer, turning frequently until dry. They will be known when they creak to the touch.

The roots will be washed well to remove all the soil, the knots and small roots will be cut off and cut into pieces of about 2.5 cm, then left to dry on a rack, or by setting them on strings and hanging them. They will be dry when they take on a woody appearance.

OUTDOOR DRYING

Drying in the open air and in the sun is a simple and quick method, the plants having to remain exposed from a few hours to weeks. Caution must be taken to protect plants at night due to humidity.

This type of drying is not suitable for aromatic plants, since they lose their essential oils and active ingredients due to the action of ultraviolet rays; On the other hand, this type of drying is excellent for low-watery plants such as thyme or rosemary.

STORAGE

Once dried, the herbs should be stored, whole or crushed, in ceramic or glass jars that have a good seal. The glass ones should be dark as this way it preserves the plants from the oxidizing action of light. If dark glass jars are not available, they will be kept in places protected from light.

Another system consists of storing the plants in cloth bags, which will then be stored in wooden boxes.

For daily use it is convenient to use small jars, replenishing the plants in them whenever necessary, avoiding the action of light and air on the rest of the stored plants.

Storage places should be dry and dark.

PRESERVATION OF PLANTS BY FREEZING

Different methods can be used to freeze plants:

Place whole plants on a platter or rack, in a single layer, and freeze. To keep them they will be put in a wide container with a lid. If these plants are to be used later for seasoning, they will be crumbled with your fingers and placed in small containers. Do not forget to always label the jars, since the dried plants are all very similar.

Fill the ice cube trays with the finely chopped plants, then cover with water and freeze. They will be stored, once frozen, in labeled plastic bags. These cubes can be added to soups and stews. You can also make cubes of aromatic plants to add to soft drinks or cold infusions, thus enjoying the mixture of flavors.

TO AVOID DUST

When bouquets of aromatic plants are covered in dust, they can regain their good appearance as follows:

Put the bouquet in a paper bag with a little fine salt, shake carefully and the powder will disappear, leaving the plants with the appearance of a fresh bouquet.

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