Growing, harvesting, drying and preserving herbs is a big task and it requires a few different mindsets, I found.
The first mindset that one needs is that of I-absolutely-must-have-a-dehydrator. Seems extravagant, no? But if like me, you aspire to a full time job and require long stretches of creative time, and have a social life, and aspire to being an amateur herbalist… then this is a must have to make that latter dream come true.
Mindset two and three: Inner Gardener and Virgo. Cultivate your inner gardener all summer, taking pleasure in carefully nurturing your little herbs. Or, just make sure to water them… When the time comes, (ie September) go with the flow of Virgo who is not satisfied until every little herb is lined up, carefully washed and ready to be dried.
The fourth mindset may be difficult for some. One must embrace the Post-modern Herbalist who combines in one gesture traditional ways of preserving herbs and modern technology and feels no pain of loss. Medicine herbs must keep stride with the Drying Machine, and in my kitchen, the only way No Name will be replaced with Organic Alexandra Herbs will be with the use of the Drying Machine.
The penultimate mindset is my favorite: The Paleolithic Herbalist. Use your mortar and pestle that lies around the kitchen most the time and hand grind the herbs feeling a connection with the ancient pre-historic past. Who knows, perhaps archeologists will one dig up our remains and wonder what culture leaves behind only plastic bags, nuclear waste and grinding stones. I would love to read their explanations.
And of course, the last mindset is that of the Proud Herbalist whose little babies are neatly tucked in their jars.