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Harvesting And Storing Quarantine Herbs

By Pamela Redwine
County Coordinator
MSU Extension Agent III

What we did during quarantine will be topics of conversations for years to come. I’ve heard people asks, “What is the ‘silver lining’ to your time at home? Did you learn something new or do something different?

I have always wanted to start an herb garden and that is what I did. I planted about 20 different herbs and have enjoyed having fresh herbs to use in different recipes.  And I’ll be harvesting the benefits of my quarantine seeds all through the season and into the winter. That’s my silver lining.

One answer I’ve heard from many people is that they liked to garden or planted herbs and vegetables. One seed company reported that they were selling ten times the seeds they normally sold. I didn’t go all out and plant a vegetable garden (my husband already has that – although I did plant a cherry tomato and bell pepper plant), but I did buy some herb plants and plant them in a raised bed.  Now these plants are producing. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but too many herbs can be a problem too. 

Most herbs only stay fresh for a short time after harvest. They tend to wilt or get slimy and nasty quickly unless stored correctly.  The best bet is to try and harvest them as you need them for a specific recipe. If you’re picking to preserve, get them early in the day. 

Most herbs tend to lose their flavor as they flower, so pick frequently to prevent flowering or remove the flower heads. Most herbs keep in the refrigerator for a few days to a week. Roll a single layer of herbs in a damp paper towel and place in an open or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Another good way to store herbs like cilantro, basil, and parsley is in a glass of water like you would put flowers in a vase. 

Place a plastic bag loosely over the top, then place the glass of herbs in the refrigerator. Some herbs (such as basil) don’t do well in cold, so they can be left on the kitchen counter. As you would with flowers, change this water frequently.

Did you harvest more than you can use in a short time? 

You can freeze them! According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, all you need to do to freeze herbs is wash them, drain them, and pat them dry with paper towels. Then wrap a few sprigs or leaves in freezer wrap and place in a freezer bag, seal, and freeze. That’s it.  Frozen herbs can be chopped and used in cooked dishes, but they’re not usually suitable for garnish, as the frozen product becomes limp when it thaws. Parsley doesn’t do well when frozen because it tends to get strong “off” flavors when frozen and basil will turn dark.

(Article Source: Food & August Newsletter)


Extension Office Notes

The MSU Extension Service remains open and we are seeing clients one-on-one with all safety precautions in place such as mask being worn while in the office, sanitizing and practicing social distancing. All face-to-face events, meetings and trainings are canceled until at least August 1 due to COVID-19 pandemic.   

If you need to contact us you can call the office at 662.675.2730 or you can reach me at p.redwine@ms We hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

Virtual Walk-A-Weigh Group Starts August 3

Register now for the Walk-a-Weigh Program which focuses on Physical Activity, Healthy Eating and Chronic Disease Control and Prevention.  Schedule a time to come by the Extension office to register for the program.

Walk-a-Weigh, is an award-winning weight control program emphasizing the importance of physical activity and healthy eating and will be offered by the Yalobusha County Office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.  The program begins August 3 and will be conducted in a private group on Facebook. Each week a class will be presented by Facebook Live or as a recorded program.  During each week tips, recipes, challenges and other fun things will be posted in the Facebook Group. Classes will meet weekly through September 11.

Participants will also be encouraged to walk or exercise by a method they choose between sessions. For more information call Yalobusha Extension Office at 662-675-2730. The deadline for enrollment is July 24.

Also make sure to visit our Facebook Page (MSU- Yalobusha County Extension Service) regularly as we are posting helpful tips daily including short videos to help you in a variety of topics.  

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