Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Herbal Explosion

What's to be done with a forest of unruly mint (besides foisting it on unsuspecting family members, hardly leaving a dent in the supply)? According to Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, you can dry mint and other herbs by zapping them for a minute in the microwave between paper towels, then zapping them 20-30 additional seconds at a time until they're dry.

I decided to experiment with each of my abundant herbs. The oregano worked like a charm, although I was puzzled by the popping noise it emitted after a few seconds of microwaving. One minute was all it took for a crisp, still-green sprig.

Chocolate mint was next. I turned the dial to 1 minute and heard more popping sounds. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw a fiery flash and heard a simultaneous explosion. I leaped to turn off the microwave and gingerly opened the door. The mint was not quite dry, but one part of the stem was smoldering. The odor of burnt mint lingered in the kitchen. The oils must have caught fire.

I'm a little nervous about trying the fuzzy apple mint and oily rosemary.

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