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Summer ends quickly and only harvesting will help in winter use the medicinal properties of the home pharmacy garden. How to dry mint and other fragrant herbs to preserve essential oils, there are several ways. The main condition is the timely collection of plants and compliance with the recommendations of specialists.
Terms of mint harvesting for the winter
The term for harvesting raw materials is the stage when it has reached market ripeness. This means that the preparation of green mass should be maintained at the time when there will be a maximum concentration of nutrients. When to collect mint for drying for the winter? The time for the collection of medicinal raw materials is the flowering period. It is at this point the plant is filled with life-giving power. Peppermint grows on a single plantation to five years, while the yield in the second, third year is the highest.
For mint, the harvesting period for leaves and stems occurs in June and July, depending on the region. If the first time to cut off the tops of plants by a third, then at the end of July the second crop will grow. Cleaning should be done in the first half of the day, before the heat, in order to preserve as many essential oils as possible. Between the time of cutting the plant and the beginning of drying should not take more than two hours. Later the leaves will already lose their bright green color, and the dried mass will be grayish.
In olden times in Russia mint was an indispensable attribute of the bath. Birch broom with a peppermint steam in the bath-house black people soared themselves and Tsar Peter I. After the bath they drank "cold infusion of mint.
The harvested mint crop will be curative if the rules are observed:
- The plant was not treated with pesticides during the growth period;
- Automobile busy track passes no closer than 200 meters from the place of collection of plants;
- leaflets are collected not earlier than the beginning of flowering bush;
- branches with leaves are cut at full flowering plantation;
- cleaning is carried out in the morning in dry weather.
How to dry mint for winter at home?
Drying is conservation, a method of removing moisture. At the same time, biochemical processes stop. In dry material, microbes and mold do not develop, they are active only in a humid environment. To keep the aroma of spicy herbs you need to dry them correctly:
- without access to sunlight;
- in a ventilated, darkened room with an air temperature of up to 30 0;
- the stem bundle is suspended by a broom;
- leaves lay out a thin layer and periodically ted.
There are several ways how to dry mint at home. The old classic method involved hanging beams on ropes in an attic ventilated room. In good weather such beams dry up in a natural state for a week. At the same time, all the aromatic substances move during drying into leaf blades. The plant is considered dry if the leaves easily break off, separating from the stem. This is what you need to do after the end of drying.
If only the leaves are collected, then they need to be dried in a dark place and faster. Ideally, if the drying is completed in two days. It would be superfluous to use a fan to remove moisture quickly.
In order to dry the collection at home, you can use a special dryer for vegetables and fruits. The device has different heating modes, you need to use the weakest. In addition, the layer of leaves should be thin, so that drying is faster.
For a long time plants in rural houses have dried over a Russian stove. Warm dry air ideally dries the brooms of medicinal fees. The only thing that prevents to get a bright green, will be the absence of blackout. In this case, the bundles are covered from daylight by paper caps.
How to dry mint for the winter, if the street is a long bad weather? A microwave oven can be used. In this case, the leaves are laid out in one layer, the stove is turned on periodically for 10 seconds. In a total of 15-45 seconds, the leaves will dry. Correctly dried peppermint remains green.
If the mint is dried in the oven, then it needs to be heated to the minimum temperature and the ventilation mode is turned on. Overheating the green mass will change not only the color, but will destroy the fragrance. Leaves, drying up, begin to warp, the edges rise. To avoid overdrying the material, you need to check the moisture of the leaves more often. It is optimal if the drying takes about 20 minutes.
It is possible to use a household dehydrator for drying at the lowest temperature regime. Do not fill all trays at the same time to ensure quick drying. Leaves in the dehydrator should be dried for five minutes.
The leaves are removed in a glass container with a fouled stopper, in this form they retain the aroma up to two years. You can store the harvest in bundles in paper bags tightly knotted with canvas bags. How to store mint depends on the number of blanks. If different herbs are prepared, then glassware will be the best storage option. But you can make a collection of several herbs, which will be vitamin tea. Mint for tea to dry as usual, later mixed with other - thyme, oregano, kipreem.
The storage of mint in a dry dark cool place will allow long use of the plant as a flavoring seasoning or for medical purposes. At first, it is necessary to check the moisture content of the product, if necessary, dry it.
Mint harvesting in agricultural enterprises
For large areas, mint picking is carried out with the help of special devices that mow the tops of plants and collect them in containers. In the future the loose mass is placed in special cabinets with blowing, into cyclone dryers or dehydrated in vacuum apparatuses. After that, the raw materials are crushed and sent for further processing. Part of the mass is used in medical collections or packed in its pure form. A greater amount is directed to the production of dosage forms.