Summer preserving is a mad time but I would have to say that autumn is the same, if not, it at least comes a close second. In the autumn my preserving comes from some cultivated crops like chillies, lemongrass and various herbs both culinary and medicinal but it also comes from foraged plants too like rosehips and hawberries and plantain and late red clover.
When I moved into my house nearly 30 years ago, there was a hook in the corner of the ceiling in the dinning room. I suspect it was from a macramé hanging of the 1980's and rather than deal with a hole I left the hook and painted it inconspicuous white. I'm so glad I did and I can't tell you how often I use it. Once I got past the "my home should look like the pages of Home Beautiful" stage and actually started to live in my home, I started drying my herbs here because the heating tends to get a bit trapped towards the ceiling here and it makes it perfect for drying. At the moment I am drying large bundles of wormwood in flower. If you can get hold of one of these old fashioned onion, shallot, garlic keeping hangers of collapsible hanging baskets do so; currently my beans are finishing off here for dried beans but I use it often for curing my soaps too.
Here I am stripping and storing previously hung wormwood. This will be made into nesting box potpourri for the chickens and also insect repelling sachets for the linens and storage cupboards.
The jar behind contains the rose hips that I foraged the other day. Having them dried and stored means I can use them for salve making or tincturing or cordial another day when they are needed. I might even use them hot glued on a Christmas wreath!
I'm collecting seeds and podding dried beans and making dried teas. Above is the head of a Giant Russian sunflower and the purple king beans dried and ready, also a bunch of dried lemongrass that has been air drying. The lemongrass has been chopped in the Thermomix and is now ready for herbal tea blends and adding to tub teas.
The dehydrator is great for small herbs and holds the colour beautifully. I'm drying oregano, calendula, mint and parsley. These ingredients will be used when needed for meals, salve and soap making and herbal blends for bath, body and chickens! There is still so much to be gleaned and harvested.
another important preserving technique.