A Word from the Board of Directors

- Sandy Budde

I attended Preserving Herb Harvests on Saturday, July 29, a virtual class taught by Amy Wertheim, a longtime herbal expert and farmer of educational, culinary, and medicinal gardens in Logan County. Amy is a seventh-generation farmer at Wertheim's Gardens in Central Illinois and she has broad and deep knowledge of growing herbs. She grows 87 different varieties of herbs used in nearly 140 herbal products prepared at Wertheim’s Gardens. 


Amy generously shared her knowledge on ways to use herbs when there’s an abundance during the growing season and you want to take advantage of using your herbs all year long. She also talked about best practices for drying herbs for flavor retention, including how to remove leaves from the stems and the need to learn the unique qualities of each herb to better utilize them in foods or herbal products. 


During the class, we created a Thai basil-infused balsamic vinegar which -- after resting for at least 2 weeks -- can be strained and boiled down to a reduction that would be delicious on pork loin or a drizzle on a Caprese salad or tossed with roasted Brussels sprouts. We also created dried rosemary and grapeseed oil infusion which can be stored for many months and used for cooking and medicinal purposes. I learned so much in this short class about drying, storing, and using herbs for cooking and other herbal purposes. I’m looking forward to the upcoming classes to learn even more about herbs.


Preserving Herb Harvests is part of a series of kitchen herb skills class series offered by Common Ground in partnership with The Land Connection and funded through an Illinois Specialty Crop Block grant. Learn about the series of classes offered throughout the summer and fall and register for upcoming classes.


If you missed the class, the video will be available in the future at www.thelandconnection.org.