Bay Laurel

It would be lovely if we could grow bay laurel up here but the Winters are far too cold. We’re fortunate that one of our Valley friends also has a house down on the Coast.

dry some herbs for use all winter long

And in their yard, is a bay laurel. They often share their supply of harvested bay laurel leaves and we appreciate it. I sometimes wonder if I should get a small laurel and just keep it in the house.

 

add a leaf to your stews and soups, don't forget to take it out before serving

After picking, just let them air dry for at least a week. When you walk by, run your fingers through the leaves to fluff them up and expose all the leaves to the air. After they dry, put them into a glass mason jar. Tuck a jar or two in the pantry – they make a wonderful addition to all kinds of soups and stews. Just remember to remove the bay leaf before serving.

 

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Growing and Using Stevia

Last Spring, I came across some Stevia plants while picking up some bedding plants at Canadian Tire. I remember just a few years ago, even the seeds were hard to find and when I did, they were very expensive. Now the price has come down somewhat, and they are being sold as bedding plants as well.

I picked up two plants and they sat out on the porch all Spring and early Summer. I brought them along to Prince Rupert when we headed that way and had them outside there for awhile. Once the nights started really cooling down, I brought the plants in and set them in a sunny window.

Here’s a few pictures of the plants and how I use harvested and dried the leaves. Stevia makes a great substitute for sugar! I think it’s much better for a person to use Stevia rather than Sweet n Low or Splenda, as the Stevia plant has no chemicals in it. Just add water with no fertilizer and it is a “natural” plant.

 

It’s quite a pretty plant – I should have probably kept it trimmed lower but I let it go. Eventually it started trailing.

 

 

You can easily pinch off a few leaves at a time if you like, or let it start trailing and then give it a good haircut!

 

 

I snipped the stems right above a spot on the stem which had two leaves on either side. I snipped the leaves off of the stem and onto a large plate.

 

 

When I was finished I had ended up with a large serving platter and a wide serving bowl full of Stevia leaves.

All I did to dry them (it was summer, after all) was to leave them out on the counter out of direct sunlight. I would give them a good stir with my fingers two or three times a day. Within a few days, they looked like this

 

 

Once they felt quite dry to the touch, I put them into a Ziplock bag and use my rolling pin to crush the leaves – you could do this by hand if you prefer not to use plastic.

 

Then I transferred the crushed leaves into a small glass Pyrex bowl with a lid. I have been using it in my coffee, I just add it in with a spoon. Stevia is a lot more healthy for a person that using sugar. If you want some great recipes using Stevia, take a look at the link.

 

 

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