This time of year you only need to take a walk outside to witness the abundance of our Earth. Here in Colorado the wild fields and spaces are spilling over with flowers. We don’t often think of the thistle as a wildflower, but it is a valuable nectar producing plant. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects depend on them for their life-giving nutrients. Is it any wonder that thistles are covered in prickles from the ground up to its flowers?

I have spent some time with the thistles lately. They are so beautiful. And they serve us too, energetically, by aiding with protective ritual work. In this week’s blog, I’m sharing some simple tips for drying herbs. These steps can be used for foraged wildflowers too. Drying is a really wonderful way to capture what’s growing now for use later. May you enjoy the abundance of where you are right now in this moment of our unfolding summer.

All my love, always.

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Whether your herbs are grown in your own garden, or purchased, having freshly dried herbs on hand is a potent pleasure. Harvesting from your garden is simply a matter of paying attention to the herbs to harvest when they are at their peak, and just before they start to flower. When in doubt, check with your local farm cooperative or nursery for helpful advice.

If you are foraging in the wild for flowers or herbs, please take care to follow all local rules regarding wild harvesting. Make time to research what you are harvesting. Some herbs are toxic, even in small doses. Also, know where plants might be treated with chemicals and avoid those areas.

Take your time when harvesting. Check in with your plants and observe how they are growing. Carefully clipping where it’s needed will allow the plant to continue to grow in a healthy way, providing you with more to harvest later.

Before leaving the site of your harvest, shake out your clipped herbs and flowers over the area they came from. This way, our insect families will remain where they live! We love them too. Then remove your harvest to rinse in cool water. There’s no need to soak your herbs or use any kind of vegetable rinse. Clean, cool water is all you need.

Before hanging herbs, shake them dry of the rinse water. Gather them up by the stems and hang them upside-down inside your home where air will circulate freely around the bunches. You can use a rubber band around the stems to hold them securely as it will contract as the stems dry.

If you’re handy, you can suspend a wooden dowel from your ceiling or under cabinets. More simply, extra hangers from your closet work in a pinch. Depending on humidity, it takes 7-10 days for most herbs to dry completely.

Once dry, herbs can be ground or stored loose in airtight containers. Dried flowers or other wild foraged plants to be used later for ritual work, can be stored loose in open or loosely covered boxes to prevent mold.

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