Get Ready for Winter Gardening!

I hate the end of growing season.  I hang in there as long as I can and do what I can inside.  This includes preserving the annual herbs that are in their final glory.
Bringing Your Herbs Inside:
Window Herbs

You will also want to think about herbs that you want to bring inside for the winter. Now is the time to start digging herbs up and getting them into containers and
having them get adapted to their new surroundings. Make sure that they are not
carrying any insects into your home and that they are disease free.  A southern
exposure stays warm in this desert climate on my porch and can be protected from
freezing. (Unless we have a blue Northern winter) I love to have my herbal
containers stay in this area near my kitchen.  In the house, they seem to have
problems because of the dry heat. If you were to place them in a saucer with
pebbles and add water to those pebbles, it would add humidity to those herbs and
keep them happy. Also light is very important to herbs inside in any season.  If
you only have a northern exposure, I would suggest that you invest in a grow
light of some kind. It will make all the difference in the total health of your
herbs when they are indoors.

Drying is another option:
Basil will lose some of its flavor but your own freshly dried herbs are bound to be better than anything you can buy.  Oregano and sage are good herbs to dry too.
Harvest the leaves and stems and arrange them on a screen frame, to provide air circulation all around. My little Girl Scouts made a dehydrator one summer. We dried bunches of bananas, pineapple, apples and cranberries for a trail mix, so I don’t know why this wouldn’t work for herbs too. I wonder which garage sale that was sold at? But you can also bunch them together and hang your bouquet upside down from a wire hanger in a dry, airy place. Make sure the herbs are completely dry (otherwise the leaves will mold) before crumbling into a spice jar.
Enjoy the bounty of your herb garden all year long. And try some combinations of dried herbs. You may find something that is just the right touch for a salad dressing. I’m going to try a basil bread just for fun.

Green Chiles

Roasted Green Chiles

Roasted Green Chiles

I came to terms with the fact that I lived in El Paso the first September I was here.  (My family moved here from Austin during the dust storms of March.)  I went to the grocery store one Saturday morning and there on the front sidewalk was a huge black round roaster fired by huge flames.  A man was rolling this drum around and around with beautiful long green chiles in it.  The aroma was spicy and wonderful.  I had to have some.  Then driving home along the side of the road were trucks with ristras and wreaths of bright red chiles.  For us “gringos” they keep the evil spirits away if you hang one in your kitchen or outside your front door.  The true Mexican cooks will use these for chile sauce or enchilada sauce.  The colors and the smells brought me home (finally).My favorite dinner is red meat enchiladas, chilé rellenos, Mexican rice, guacamole and refried beans with tostados.  I love to go to the store in September when the chiles are roasting outside.  I just HAVE to get the ingredients to make this dinner.  Nothing tastes better.  It is a lot of work, but worth every bite! (Today I would probably go to my favorite Mexican place, but it won’t taste as good.)  The rest of this menu will follow soon!

Kitchen Ramblings

Crafty Ramblings