Sunday, July 3, 2022

Drying herbs and paper packets for seeds or dried herbs

Dry herbs in sun, no, dry in shade (Miller 1769). Hang in "small bunches" no, that dried them too much (Loudon 1835). Dry in oven (Randolph 1824, Beeton 1863). Dry in bag in oven (1893). Store dried in: brown paper sewn like sack (Culpeper 1809), paper packets (Loudon 1835), covered boxes (Mollard 1802), corked bottles (Randolph 1824), bacon racks (1923).

Cut such herbs as are now in flower to distil, or to dry for winter use, always observing to do it when they are dry, and hang them up in a dry shady place; for if they are dried in the sun, they will shrink up, turn black, and be of little worth.
Miller, Philip. Gardeners Kalendar London: 1769

Herbs for Drying. 1787
Gather mint and balm, pennyroyal, sweet marjoram, as also carduus, and all such kinds of herbs as are now in flower, in order to dry, to serve the family in winter.
These kinds of herbs mould always be cut for the purpose of drying, when they are in the highest perfection, which is when the plants are nearly of full growth, and just coming into flower. Let them be cut, in dry weather, and spread, or hung up in a dry airy place, out of the reach of the sun; and there let them dry gently; for they should be always dried in the made.
Abercrombie, John. Every man his own gardener. London: 1787

To dry Herbs. 1802
Gather marjoram, savory, thyme, basil, parsley, &c. on a dry day, when in season, and not blown. Divide them separately into small bunches, as in that state they will dry best. Then hang them on a line in a dry room or place where the air has free admission, but no direct rays of the sun. When they are perfectly dry (which will require two or three weeks to accomplish) put them in rows in boxes close covered, and set them in a dry place.
Mollard, John. The art of cookery made easy. London: 1802

4. Dry them well in the sun, and not in the shade, as the saying of physicians is; for if the sun draw away the virtues of the herb, it must needs do the like by hay, by the same rule, which the experience of every country fanner will explode for a notable piece of nonsense.
6. Having well dried them, put them up in brown paper, sewing the paper up like a sack, and press them not too hard together, and keep them in a dry place near the fire.
1st. Such as grow upon dry grounds, will keep better than such as grow on moist.
Culpeper, Nicholas. The English physician London: 1809

To dry herbs. 1824
Gather them on a dry day, just before they begin to blossom; brush off the dust, cut them in small branches, and dry them quickly in a moderate oven; pick off the leaves when dry, pound and sift them— bottle them immediately, and cork them closely. They must be kept in a dry place.
Randolph, Mary. Virginia Housewife. Washington: 1824

Hang from bacon rack
"As it is particularly delightful to me to see in a poor man's house, indications of plenty, fore-thought, and comfort, I could not but observe with great satisfaction the cheerful bacon rack, on one end of which were deposited a whole and a cut flitch; and at the other end, far away from the bacon, a stock of soap cut up in pieces to harden… at least one piece in five is saved. From the spars of the rack, hung at one end, ropes of onions, and at the other a row of paper bags, containing dried herbs, each neatly written upon, 'Mint,' 'Balm,' 'Sage Camomile,' 'Senna 'Hyssop,' 'Marigolds,' &c. "
Christian gleaner and domestic magazine. London: 1825

Blog post: Bacon racks held soap, paper bags of herbs, ropes of onions, rennet and... meat HERE

Herbs, to dry 1833
Gather marjoram, savory, thyme, basil, parsley, &c.on a dry day, in the proper season, before they. are in flower; divide them into small bunches, and hang them on a line in a room where there is a free current of air, but no sun: in about three weeks, lay them in rows, in boxes, and keep them in a dry place.
Dolby, Richard. The cook's dictionary and house-keeper's directory. London: 1833

All herbs should be gathered dry, and in sunshine after dry weather; they should be dried in the shade, and, when perfectly dried, pressed close by a press or weights, and enclosed in paper. The packets should then be deposited in a dry place, and when opened for use always carefully shut afterwards. The practice of hanging up herbs in loose bundles tends to dry them too much and dissipate their flavour.
Loudon, John. An encyclopædia of gardening. London: 1835

To dry herbs for winter use. 1863
445. On a very dry day, gather the herbs, just before they begin to flower. If this is done when the weather is damp, the herbs will not be so good a colour. (It is very necessary to be particular in little matters like this, for trifles constitute perfection, and herbs nicely dried will be found very acceptable when frost and snow are on the ground. It is hardly necessary, however, to state that the flavour and fragrance of fresh herbs are incomparably finer.) They should be perfectly freed from dirt and dust, and be divided into small bunches, with their roots cut off. Dry them quickly in a very hot oven, or before the fire, as by this means most of their flavour will be preserved, and be careful not to burn them; tie them up in paper bags, and keep in a dry place. This is a very general way of preserving dried herbs; but we would recommend the plan described in a former recipe.
Seasonable.From the month of July to the end of September is the proper time for storing herbs for winter use.
Herb powder for flavouring, when Fresh Herbs are not obtainable. 1863
446. Ingredients.-1 oz. of dried lemon-thyme, 1 oz. of dried winter savory, 1 oz. of dried sweet marjoram and basil, 2 oz. of dried parsley, 1 oz. of dried lemon-peel.
Mode.—Prepare and dry the herbs by recipe No. 445; pick the leaves from the stalks, pound them, and sift them through a hair-sieve ; mix in the above proportions, and keep in glass bottles, carefully excluding the air. This, we think, a far better method of keeping herbs, as the flavour and fragrance do not evaporate so much as when they are merely put in paper bags. Preparing them in this way, you have them ready for use at a moment’s notice.
Mint, sage, parsley, &c., dried, pounded, and each put into separate bottles, will be found very useful in winter.
Beeton, Isabella. The Book of household management. London: 1863

Herbs for winter use. 1893
Mint, Sage, Thyme, and Marjoram, should be gathered in August while they are at their best, and each variety placed in a separate paper bag. These bags can be put into the oven when it is cool in the evening, and taken out in the morning when the leaves should be crisp and dry, but not burned. Rub them up finely, keeping each kind separate, and place the powdered leaves in glass jars, such as are used for jam. If kept in a dry cupboard, tied over with paper, the dried Herbs will be useful all the winter, and can be used as they are needed. I.L.R. Gardening Illustrated. July 29, 1893


Although the next two taped talks are about seed packets, a similar process of folding and tucking paper (so not need string, adhesive) was probably used for herb packets. The 18th Century seed talk details the various types of paper repurposed – printers waste paper, letters, books, sermons, journals, manuscripts, and more in images.
Photo from "Found in the Floorboards: 200 Year Old Seed Packets." Starr Herr-Cardillo, Joel Fry. with lots of photos, and instructions on how to fold and tuck paper into a packet. Found in "Woodlands", home of William Hamilton (d1815). HERE

Eighteenth-Century Seeds & the Case for Greening Book History. Paper was reused to make seed packets. Packets examined from Linnean Society of London and Natural History Museum. Maria Zytaruk. The Library Company of Phila. Se 2020 HERE. TAPE HERE

“Take Care Some Seeds in the Letter”: Material and Textual Practices of Seed Exchange in the Long Eighteenth Century. Maria Zytaruk in Proceedings from the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. January 2019

Garden: Collecting seeds. Gunston Hall, VA. Joel Fry of Bartram's Garden talked about Bartram, his Garden, and (at 48 min) the c1800 seed packets (pictured) found at Woodlands in Phila. Ryan Dostal talked about saving seeds, hand pollinating, and folding paper packets. A handout with items to 'do along'. Aug 22 2020 TAPE HERE

First image from Herb-woman's home in first chapter. Hale, Lucretia Peabody. The Peterkin Papers. Boston: 1897


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©2022 Patricia Bixler Reber
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