Tarragon and Thyme dry well. With the warm autumn days, and nary a drop of humidity, they will sun-dry easily. I can save them in the freezer (just to be safe). The basil can be pureed with oil and frozen in ice cube trays, or made into pesto as PsychGrad suggests.
I had thought I would make mint jelly with the overgrown patch. This seemed like a particularly good idea since Farmer Brett is giving me half a lamb as compensation for all the work I’ve done for him this summer. But the prospect of more canning is overwhelming. The batch of tomatoes (smoked, stewed and ketchup), which yielded 48 jars took many hours over the course of three days. I decided instead to freeze it. I will make a mint syrup that I can use for either mojitos or a la minute mint jelly. I will make a second batch of mint-jalapeno syrup to use the hand full of peppers in the garden.
Mint Jelly or Mojito Base
3 cups mint leaves
3 cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 jalapeno, sliced in half (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add mint and cook for 30 seconds, or just until bright green. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2. In a sauce pot, combine sugar and water (and jalapeno). Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Put mint in a food processor and coarsely chop.
4. Combine mint and sugar water and refrigerate for 24 hours. Discard jalapeno.
5. Freeze in 1 cup containers
Tips for making Jelly or Mojitos:
1. When you make jelly, you will need pectin. Be sure to follow the directions on the box – each kind of pectin reacts differently and needs different amounts of pectin for the same amount of liquid.
2. This recipe has half as much water as necessary for jelly, but the proper amount for mojitos. As such, you will need to dilute the syrup before making the jelly. For every 1 ½ cups of syrup, add ½ cup water.
3. You will want to add a few drops of lemon juice for jelly and lime juice for mojitos.
Early in the season I blathered on about the sage. Even in April, before any other crops were up, I was up to my eyeballs in sage. The pungent flavor makes it difficult to use in copious amounts, unless you fry it.
I started the season with 5 plants and it got so out of control that I dug up one completely and dried it, and moved another to the front yard to become “ornamental.” I know this will last through the first frost, so I use more as fall meats and vegetables pair so beautifully. In the meantime, I continue to shear the plant and dry sprigs tied into bundles. Burning sage, the lore suggests, rids a room or a house of evil spirits. These will be housewarming gifts to friends.