The Art of Foraging and Drying Herbs

There is something so magical about fresh herbs.  A house filled with its aroma couldn't be homey-er.  I am a strong believer in growing and harvesting your own fruit and vegetables and dream of the day I will wake to the sound of my little chicks out in the hen house.  However, I currently live in Los Angeles with a roommate and a cat in a second story apt, so these dreams aren't yet my reality.  I was the first person to fill my balcony with herbs and cacti however and they do just fine for the time being.  

I've been wanting to bring a little more country into the house lately.  If I could have it my way I would live in an old barn with high ceilings and large windows.  So instead I collect a lot of sticks and forage basically everything I see.  My kitchen has been needing some love as of late.  It's funny how as a photographer I seem to have problems deciding what to commit to on my walls.  I've been wanting something earthy and functional, as all things should have multiple purposes.  

On a recent trip to Big Sur I took a hike through some redwoods up to a water fall and came across this beautiful branch.  When I first saw it I thought 'great walking stick' and wanted to paint and tattoo it with my favorite lyrics or John Muir words.  But as it sat leaning against the wall, I felt it's beauty was enough without markings and wanted to hang it instead.  

It was the perfect size for the large open kitchen wall and would be the new home to drying herbs, flowers and chiles.  Or basically anything I find that I can now dry myself.  I then thought, what a lovely addition to a holiday gift a small bunch of freshly dried herbs would be?  So I gathered up a few individual groupings of Thyme, Oregano and Rosemary and tied them up with string and hemp.  I hope to find some licorice root sticks to add to the bundles for future gifts.

For anyone who hasn't, drying your own herbs is very simple and very affective.  If you don't have the ability to grow them yourselves like me, attend your local green market and purchase them in large bundles.  The more the merrier as they shrink while drying.  Rinse them and tie them up to be hung in a dry area for a few days - weeks depending on the dryness of the environment.  Mine were ready within a few days, as Los Angeles is a rather dry city.  The chiles take a bit longer but within a few weeks you will have your own lovely shrunken chiles.   


 If you try this at home, post and tag @theeternalchild :)


Peace + Love