Gathering & Drying Instructions

Plants have different parts:

Leaves: Cut rather than pulling, to reduce harm to the plant. What time of year is best, to harvest this particular plant? Do not gather wet leaves; if they need washing, rinse them with a watering can the day before. Remove dead or discoloured leaves. Fasten stems in bunches with a rubber band, label, and hang to dry. After two to three weeks (or longer if weather is very humid), store in whole-leaf form in sealed, airtight containers.

Wood: Cut into thin slices or chips while still soft. Spread on mesh screens or paper towels to dry; stir or turn daily. May take a month or more to dry, depending on thickness of pieces.

Roots: Wash in cold water, scrub if necessary, but do not soak. Some roots should be peeled, others should not. Dry as for wood.

Bark: In most cases, it is the inner layer of bark that is wanted. Harvest small twigs, peel bark as soon as possible, and dry as for wood. In the case of willow, gather long pieces, and save the peeled wood for basket weaving.

Flowers: Gather as soon as possible after they open. Hang or spread to dry.

Berries: Gather as soon as fully ripe, unless instructed otherwise. Hang or spread to dry. You may wish to slice larger fruits, to speed drying.

General drying and storage instructions: Hang or spread to dry in a place where there is good air circulation, minimal dust, and no direct sunlight. Do not use heat to speed drying. Once herb is fully dry, store in as whole a form as possible, in an airtight container, in a cool, dry, dark place. Glass containers are best because they are most inert chemically. Plastic containers are next best. Wooden or metal containers may react chemically with the herb. Paper bags will absorb valuable oils from the herb, and are not airtight; they are a very poor choice. Label and date every package; include source info if applicable.

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