Friday, December 21, 2012

How to Dry Epazote

Forager's Digest discusses how to dry the herb, Epazote. Epazote is an herb commonly used in Mexican cooking. Significantly, it aids in the digestion of beans, making it a potentially important addition to your food storage. The article indicates that it can be grown in warm climates. It then describes the drying process:
Plan your epazote harvest about mid-morning, after the dew on the plants has dried but while the oil level in the leaves is still high. It is the oil that carries the flavor. You will have a better-quality end-product if you harvest your epazote in the morning.

Pick the entire stalk of the plant to hang in your drying room. Do not try to remove the leaves at this point. If the stalks are small, tie three of them together with cotton string or twine and hang the bunch from the nail or hook in your drying room. Larger stalks can be hung by themselves, perhaps using string to connect them to the hook if necessary.

Ensure that your drying epazote pieces are not hanging so close together that there is no air flow between them. Allow plenty of air flow to reduce the risk of mold.

Leave your project for a week or ten days. When the leaves appear dry, remove one and break it up in your hand. It is ready when it crumbles readily. At this point, the leaves are dry but the stems probably are not. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Store the leaves in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in a cool, dark place. You epazote leaves will maintain their freshness for many months. As you need them in your cooking, remove a handful of leaves, crumble them, and add them to your recipes.

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