Welcome to English-Cottage-Lifestyle.com monthly E-zine…Inspiration and ideas to help you discover and enjoy the English Cottage Lifestyle.

Quote Of The Month…

“Better joy in a cottage than sorrow in a palace”

In This Issue:
  • Harvesting and Drying Herbs
  • Cottage Garden July Calendar
  • English Thatched Cottage
  • Recipe Of The Month: Mint Ice Cream

Drying Herbs

Harvesting Fresh Herbs.

For maximum flavour it is best to harvest the leaves in the morning, once the dew has evaporated but before the sun comes out which will bring out the essential oil and be evaporated by the sun. Pick them just before they come into flower, as the leaves begin to toughen up after flowering.

Pick only the amount that you can use in the near future. It is best to harvest only one species at a time, so that you can pick them over to get the best unblemished leaves. You can gently harvest the leaves in a basket or box, avoid bruising them to retain the best flavour and if you need to, sort and tie the remainder into bunches.

Strongly smelling herbs like lovage should be kept separate from your other harvest so that flavours do not mix.

Drying Fresh Herbs.

Flowers and leaves should be dried loosely tied in bunches, or laying flat (large leaves and flowers) in a dry, warm, dark place, preferably with air circulating in the area. Hang bunches over the cooker otherwise hang up in the airing cupboard or a sheltered garage ceiling should be fine. You should place your tied bunches upside down. If there are seedheads on the bunches place a tea towel underneath to catch the seeds.

It's fine to use a brown paper bag to hang the bunches in to keep down dust but the end result will not be so attractive. Drying this way can take as little as a few days or a few weeks, depending on the place where the herbs were stored. To test when your harvest is ready it should be crisp and papery when you touch it.

Oven Drying Herbs.

A quicker way to dry fresh herbs is in the oven. Personally I use the above method simply because it is easier and natural, but if you are in a hurry the oven works great. Spread the herbs gently either laying flat or in bunches on a muslin-covered rack in the oven on a low temperature, with the oven door open to let the moisture escape. Keep your oven temperature below 55°C/130°F/Gas Mark 0. Turn the herbs gently until they are crisp.

Note: Drying fresh herbs in a microwave will destroy the therapeutic properties of their essential oils.

Storing Dried Herbs.

Remove leaves from stems before storing in labelled airtight glass containers away from light, heat, and moisture. If your herbs get mouldy or insects get in to the container throw them out. When herbs are dried properly they should remain fresh for at least a year.

Seeds for cooking should be stored the same way as leaves. Flowers which have been dried the same way as leaves are best if stored spread out to keep their shape. Seeds for sowing should be kept in a frost free dry dark place. Roots should be kept in airtight containers stored in the dark.

Preserving Dried Herbs.

When dried your herbs can be crushed or sieved finely depending on your preference then labelled and stored away from light in airtight containers or preserved in vinegar or olive oil. You can also freeze herbs.

Cottage Garden July Calendar.

July’s here and the weathers fine here are some gentle reminders of the most important gardening jobs in the cottage garden in July. If its sunny outside get your self some ice cream and enjoy your cottage garden. Love ice cream? See this months recipe. So grab your diary and organise your gardening to do list with ECL’s July calendar.

English Thatched Cottage.

In June ECL covered the English thatched cottage; their history and which counties you can see them. There is more to come with thatching and building today. This month I will be putting up the Cob cottage page…Click here to go to English Thatched Cottage

Recipe Of The Month.

Mint Ice Cream.


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp superfine sugar
  • 2 ½ cups cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh mint


1)Beat the egg yolks and sugar until they are a light colour. Then transfer to a small saucepan.

2)In a separate saucepan bring the cream to a boil with the vanilla bean.

3)Remove the vanilla bean and pour the hot cream on to the egg mixture, whisking briskly.

4)Continue whisking to mix the eggs into the cream.

5)Gently heat mixture until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Let cool.

6)Stir in mint and place in an ice cream maker 3-4 hours. Without an ice cream maker, freeze the ice cream until mushy and then whisk it well again, to break down the ice cristals. Freeze for another 3 hours until it is softly frozen and whish again. Finally freeze until hard: for at least 6 hours.Then serve.

This recipe is one I love I make it without an ice cream maker. It is a great use of mint. It comes from the book “Glorious Country” (in the summer recipes section) by Liz Trig, Tessa Evelegh, Stewart and Sally Walton

It is my sincere hope that the information I provide on English-Cottage-Lifestyle.com assists you in finding inspiration from the English cottage and country life wherever in the world you may be.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you. Just reply to this E-zine and tell me what you think.

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Wishing you a lovely day,

Helen Green.
English Cottage Lifestyle