Q.: My small mint plant at the beginning of summer has become a large mint bush! My rosemary plant has also become huge and much too large to bring back into the house come fall. So my question is this: Is there some way to harvest (dry or freeze) these plants?
— Anne Schellin, Akron
A.: I am assuming that you mean dry their leaves, not the entire plant.
First off, no need to worry about that mint. It will be back next year, better and bigger than this year. Soon, you’ll wonder where the lawn went.
As far as saving some to use over the winter, you can use a food dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, simply tie a bunch together with some string or kitchen twine and leave it hanging in a cool dry spot. It could take a week or so to dry completely. Then pick the leaves off and save them in a jar in the cupboard. You also can dry mint by spreading the leaves on a cookie sheet and placing them in a 200-degree oven until the herbs are crisp and dry, about 10 minutes or so. Cool well and store in an air-tight bottle.
As far as rosemary goes, saving it may be difficult. While it is a perennial, Northeast Ohio’s Zone 5 climate may be too harsh for it to survive over the winter. Some folks have luck getting it to come back, others don’t and it often depends on how much shelter it has.
If your plant is in a pot, you can bring it inside for the winter. Don’t hesitate to prune it back to make it more manageable.
To save rosemary, simply tie some up and hang to dry. Pick its leaves off the stems once dry and store in a glass or plastic jar.
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