Preserving Herb

No, this is not about selecting funeral plans. It is about my journey of trying to conserve money, cook a little healthier, and acquire some new skills.

Every year I purchase five small pots of herbs that I can grown and tend. The cost of this year’s herbs was $17.95. I have a great place to grow them and this year has been a good growing year. All summer, I have enjoyed going out and clipping fresh chives, parsley (for Frieda the Guinea Pig), basil, and mint. Doing well here, right? No quick trip to the store for herbs that I always forget, tasty ice tea, and a well fed pet.

With my bumper crop, I start to research how to dry herbs. My first crop, I followed the directions on PurpleShutter.com. They suggest a homemade rack, and finding a warm, dark dry place—such as an attic. I have a crop drying there but it could take up to six weeks. For now, the tax records and extra blankets stored there will smell very good.

A trip to the local house ware store, I spotted a “food dryer.” If I believed all the claims, I will be very popular when I share my homemade gifts with family and friends and will have saved “hundreds of dollars.” Item was $59.95, less 20% off, less and a $10 reward coupon. Net cost: $37.96.

After reading the booklets, I prepared the second crop of herbs to be dried. Did I mention 24 hours in the drier? While I am sure the electricity cost will be small, it is still a cost. I can check in 18 hours how my crop is doing. I will still need to purchase some small jars to store the herbs and some “brightly colored yarn” to finish off my herb gift.

At the local grocery store, four jars of herbs cost $21.56. Have I saved money? I’m not sure, but sometimes, it is not the cost, it is the journey. Until tax season, I hope the taxman likes basil and my family and friend will enjoy “preserving herb.”

Cathy Williams is a former writer for MMI.

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