Day 42: Idle Hands Are Nicotine's Workshop

Blog Post created by AlexColvin on Mar 16, 2019

If you're having a nicotine craving, the easiest way to get through it is to get busy. Because, since your hands do not detach at the wrist, it's best to find something productive to do with them.


I have just the thing!  Herbs!.  Herbs, dried on a rack for a week that need to be finished in the oven and then bottled. That takes a lot of handwork. Or run to the store and buy some fresh ones in those little packs and put them in the oven and dry them. It's cheating, but your hands won't know the difference.


Let's get started:  We 're going to need some things to bottle our dried herbs with:


Bottles, a paper plate for crumbling and chopping, a mortar and pestle (if you want really fine,  crushed herbs,  or to make a pesto with muddled herbs,), a funnel to get them into the shaker bottle; a few shaker bottles with labels. Oh,  and an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees, a flat cookie sheet,  and a sheet of parchment paper. 


Let's practice Mise en place, too (Pr: "mizon play") which in french cookery means, get everything together first.


We'll use some fresh Thyme from a friend's garden to demonstrate:








First: take the fresh herbs, and lay them on the parchment paper. Try to separate the twigs a bit, then put them in the preheated oven for ~ 5 minutes. Once you smell them, they're done. Give a few extra minutes if store-bought herbs which will not be air-dried. You smell that? Yum! That's the oil in the leaves being stimulated by the heat. That aroma also comes with flavor.   


Next: move your oven-dried herbs to the bottling station. Here you will separate the leaves from the stems and crush them. Stems really add nothing to herbs; their botanical function is a delivery conduit and physical support. They deliver water, etc., to the leaves. The leaves are what you want. Stems are just roughage. Ug.  I would suggest dumping your dried herbs on a paper plate and then carefully rolling each stem between thumb and forefinger finger to remove the leaves; the stems and leaves can be delicate. Be gentle. But its a good method. Discard the stems as you defoliate them.


At this point you may want to fine grind your herbs, or add a few drops of oil to muddle them for a pesto. Your call. You can use your handy-dandy mortar and pestle or not. I use mine sparingly. 













Lastly is the bottling, which is where your funnel comes in handy. Just put it into your labeled shaker bottle and fold your plate pointing it into the funnel so that your herbs get a super-slide experience into their new bottled home. Kewl, yes!



Repeat this sequence, and after drying and bottling two or three kinds of herbs, you'll have the method down pat. Enjoy.  Your experienced, busy hands now smell like delicious herbs, not like stinky cigarettes and you have real garden-fresh herbs to add to your favorite recipes. You're a regular chef! . You can thank me later.


Peace and gratitude,