Herbs can be some of the most rewarding plants to grow, whether in pots or the garden. They also open up the gateway to gardening for many people since many are perfect beginner plants. Sometimes, it can be challenging to tell when your herbs are ready for harvesting, and some of them can change from ready-to-harvest to bolted-and-bitter fast!

Here are the key tips for knowing when you can start harvesting some of the most common herbs.

harvesting herbs mother nature powell river

How to Harvest Your Herbs for the Most Flavour

You can technically start harvesting your herbs whenever you’re ready to use them in a recipe. But if you want to preserve them to use in recipes throughout the year, then there is an ideal time to harvest your herbs. It’s best to begin harvesting early in the morning before the dew dries, so they’re well hydrated and haven’t faced the stress of the hot sun. Leafy herbs, like mint and oregano, will have the highest oil concentration levels, and hence most flavour, right before they flower. So if you see flower buds, snip them off and harvest your herbs soon after.

harvesting herbs mother nature powell river

Preserve Your Herbs

The most common ways to preserve herbs after harvesting are freezing and drying. Both are fairly quick and easy and result in great flavours, though freezing retains a fresher flavour.

To freeze your herbs, combine the leaves in a food processor with oil or water until they form a paste, then you can freeze them into cubes. Some varieties, like rosemary, thyme, summer savoury, and lavender, don’t freeze particularly well; it’s best to dry them.

There are a few ways to dry herbs:

However you preserve your herbs, make sure to store them in a dark location in airtight containers.

harvesting herbs mother nature powell river

How to Use Your Herbs

Not sure what to use your herbs for? Here are a few quick and easy recipes you can try:

Pesto (any leafy herb, not just basil)

Combine ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Serve on pasta or mix into dips.

Whipped Herbed Feta Dip

Puree ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy, serve with fresh veggies, chips, or toasty bread.

Refreshing Herb Infused Water

Combine a handful of herbs and several chunks or slices of your favourite fruit in a pitcher of water. Slap or gently crumple the herbs in your hand before adding them; the effect is similar–you want to slightly bruise the leaves for the most flavour. Give these combos a try:

If you don’t have herbs growing yet but want to try these tasty ideas, swing by Mother Nature and pick up a few, it’s always a good time to start growing!