Harvest time: How and when to harvest home-grown herbs?

With autumn around the corner, too many gardeners are panicking and making mistakes. Wondering how to harvest herbs in a..

With autumn around the corner, too many gardeners are panicking and making mistakes. Wondering how to harvest herbs in a...
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With autumn around the corner, too many gardeners are panicking and making mistakes. Wondering how to harvest herbs in autumn without making common mistakes? Read our tips below to learn more about how you should go about harvesting herbs in autumn.

What herbs to harvest in autumn

Before you start picking herbs, you should pay attention to their selection. The timing of harvesting herbs depends on the type of plant and other factors. For example, some culinary herbs, such as oregano, may be more sensitive to temperature drops. As autumn approaches, you should focus on harvesting less thirsty herbs first. If you're looking for extra-durable herbs, it's best to harvest them in the fall, as they will last until spring. It's also important to remember that herbs won't last as long if they are harvested wet.

You need to harvest herbs at the appropriate time of year to ensure that they are harvested when they are at their peak. Bear in mind that herbs that start to lose their flavour before harvesting will take on a bitter taste when cooked. Keep these herbs on the table and harvest them when they are dry, you can also cut them when they are overgrown.

Tips for harvesting and storing herbs

There are a few rules to keep in mind when harvesting herbs for immediate use. For single-species herbs such as basil and sage, pick only the central tip. This will encourage vigorous growth. For chervil, thyme and mint, use the tops and flower buds. For parsley plants, use the outer leaves and stems and leave the centre alone. A large crop takes a bit of work, but the reward throughout the year is well worth the effort. You can get 2-3 harvests from annuals and perennials before the end of the season. The last harvest should take place in early autumn so that the new growth has time to harden off before the first frosts.

Choose a bright sunny morning just after the dew has evaporated, but before the sun gets hot enough to affect the oil content of the leaves and flowers. Be careful when picking and use only healthy plants. Perennial herbs can be cut to a third, while annuals can be cut to within three inches of the soil surface.

Rinse freshly chopped herbs in cold water and use a towel to absorb excess moisture. Tie the stems together (dental floss works well) in bundles of five or six and hang them in a dry, well-ventilated place out of direct sun and moisture. The temperature should be no higher than 85 degrees. Since herbs should not be stored until they are completely dry, it is important to test them by placing the stem in an airtight container overnight. If condensation forms, more drying is needed.

Once the plants are dry, store them in clean airtight containers (preferably glass) and protect them from direct sunlight. Herbs lose their potency over time, so we recommend storing them for a maximum of one year.



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  • Chef: Adela
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Category: Food tips

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