Creative Living: Learn how to save herbs

Information on animals and PTSD, preserving fresh herbs, and products for water-retaining plants will be the featured topics on “Creative Living” 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and noon Thursday.

Matthew Festa is with Guardians of Rescue, and he’s going to explain how animals who have been trained through a program called Animals Helping People can help anyone with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, especially military personnel. He lives in Smithtown, New York.

Sheryl Borden

Sheryl Borden

Cookbook author and dietitian, Carol Fenster will discuss how to grow and harvest your own herbs, show how to store them and demonstrate some ways to preserve fresh herbs. Her company is Savory Palate, Inc. in Centennial, Colorado.

Curt Jaynes will show some new products on the market for water-retaining plants, including a polymer that’s also good for gardens, lawns, trees and shrubs. His business is GardenSource Nursery and Landscaping in Portales.
Information on making lighted glass block centerpieces, jewelry layering and xeriscaping will be the featured topics on “Creative Living” noon Tuesday and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Extension Home Economist, Connie Moyers will show how to make lighted glass blocks for centerpieces which can be used as decorations year ‘round. Moyers is with the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service and lives in Clovis.

Independent Silpada Designs Representative, Jacqueline Davis will talk about various gemstones, how to care for them, and how to create new fashion looks by layering jewelry. She’s from Clovis.

Curt Jaynes will explain how xeriscaping is catching on throughout the country, especially in areas where water usage is restricted. He’ll also discuss ways to curb water usage with beautiful low water use plants.

Preserving Fresh Herbs
Herbs are a good thing. Here’s why it’s important to preserve them.
• Herbs add flavor to food; they are decorative; and they have medicinal qualities (infusions or teas, i.e. sage for sore throat; thyme for congestion.)
• A package of fresh herbs costs about $3, yet most recipes don’t use a whole package. Leftover herbs are often thrown away after wilting in the refrigerator — or our over-abundant garden produces too much to use up at one time.
• Preserving fresh herbs makes them available to us throughout the year.

Grow/harvest your own herbs for maximum yield
• Follow directions for your zone and fertilize accordingly. Some herbs, i.e. rosemary, need sun while others, such as basil, can’t tolerate too much hot sun.
• Pinch new growth regularly — just above a node or joint in the stem — for healthy, bushy plants. Remove withered or yellowed growth as needed.

How to store fresh herbs
• Store fresh herbs with cut ends in a glass of water in the refrigerator OR wrapped loosely in damp paper towels in a plastic bag to prolong their freshness. When they start to look wilted, it’s time to preserve them.

Ways to preserve herbs
• Hang a bunch by the stems in a dry place (covered by a paper bag) for a few days. Another way is to wash/pat herbs with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Put herbs in a single layer on a dry paper towel or microwave-safe plate and microwave on High power for 2 to 3 minutes, in one-minute increments. Check after each one-minute increment, stop when completely dry and brittle. Strip off the leaves with your fingers and discard stems which can be tough, such as thyme.
• Some herbs — especially soft herbs such as basil, lemon balm, chives, cilantro, dill, mint and parsley — freeze well in small freezer bags for up to 6 months. Rinse first and pat as dry as possible, then place in plastic bags, They will look a little bruised when thawed — and they must be cooked since they will be mushy — but their flavor is still intact and they retain all of their health benefits. In fact, I routinely freeze parsley and save considerable time by not having to chop it up.

“Creative Living” is produced and hosted by Sheryl Borden. The show is carried by more than 118 PBS stations in the United States, Canada, Guam and Puerto Rico and is distributed by Westlink of Albuquerque.