Features harvesting currant leaves for the winter
In order to receive healthy vitamins and minerals with food in winter, it is worth storing not only vegetables and fruits, but also flower and leaf products for storage. One of the best methods for harvesting leaves of medicinal plants is drying. The intricacies and basic rules of drying currant leaves will be discussed in the article.
When to pick leaves
For maximum preservation of nutrients in dried raw materials, it is necessary to choose the time of its preparation.
In this matter, you should adhere to some subtleties:
- You can harvest both young leaves at the beginning of summer (May-June), and already ripened - at the end (August-September). In any of these periods, blackcurrant leaves will have healing properties.
- Currant bushes before harvesting should not be subjected to any chemical treatments, nor be healthy (without any signs of disease).
- The value for the collection is not only the time of the year, but also the period of the day. The optimal interval is considered to be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The foliage has already dried out from the dew, but the sun is still not very hot.
- Well, if a few days before harvesting, it rained, which washed away the dust from the plant. Otherwise, it is advisable to douse the bush from a hose or watering can a couple of days before the proposed procedure. Thus, the dried raw materials will be clean (leaves must not be washed before drying).
- Our ancestors also paid attention to the lunar cycles. The period of the growing moon was considered the most suitable for the preparation of medicinal herbs - it was at this time that the plants possess the most powerful healing and beneficial qualities.
Did you know? All aerial parts of blackcurrant have a strong aroma due to the presence of special essential oils. White and red currants do not have these substances, so their leaves and stems do not smell like that.
When harvesting raw materials, you need to choose such leaves:
- healthy, whole and intact;
- without stems and petioles (only a leaf plate), and not everything in a row, so as not to harm the plant.
And although you can take any leaves for drying, it’s better to collect not too young and not very old, growing in the middle part of the stem. And the upper young and lower should be left for a good development of the future crop
How to dry and store leaves
There are several drying methods:
- The simplest "grandfather" method is air drying under a canopy or in a well-ventilated attic. Lay out the foliage in a thin layer on paper or plywood and mix from time to time. Newspapers, due to the presence of printing ink, are undesirable. The drying process can last from 4 days to a week.
- You can significantly reduce the drying time using the oven. Pour a thin sheet on the baking sheet, set the temperature to a minimum, and place the baking sheet in the lower part of the oven. Some experts advise keeping the door ajar, which will lower the temperature and ensure air flow. Readiness is determined by appearance: the sheet should be dry, but not crumble at the first touch (a sign of overdrying). Instead of an oven, you can use a dryer for vegetables and fruits.
- The use of special drying chambers or furnaces allows, according to all rules, to prepare sheet products for winter storage. Such devices allow you to harvest large quantities of medicinal raw materials with maximum preservation of useful qualities. Features of the use of devices are attached with the instructions.
After the drying is completed, the raw materials are reviewed for damaged foliage, and all high-quality material is stored.
Important! When storing raw materials in an unpressurized container, foods and spices with a strong odor should not be near, since currant leaves can absorb an extraneous aroma.
The dried product can be stored whole or in a crushed state (broken into pieces). A suitable storage space may be a conventional kitchen cabinet. As containers are used:
- linen bags - periodically, the raw materials must be checked for the absence of moths (the pest can settle and ruin everything);
- paper bags - also from time to time it is necessary to review dry leaves for the presence of pests;
- the most optimal packaging - glass or ceramic dishes with sealed lids, since in such containers there will be no access of air, moisture and other factors affecting storage.
The shelf life of dry blackcurrant leaves is from 2 to 3 years
Not only fresh, but also dry leaves of currant have versatile use:
- In cooking, in addition to the well-known vitamin teas, currant leaf is also used for the preparation of marinades, brines, tinctures, wines and liquors. From currant raw materials even fruit vinegar is used, which is used in the preparation of various dishes.
- Traditional medicine practices the use of this raw material in the treatment of the genitourinary, cardiovascular systems, as well as to increase immunity and fight against viral diseases.
- In cosmetology, they are used due to the presence of disinfectant and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, the product is included in various cosmetics.
But in the presence of some diseases, treatment with currant leaves needs to be limited or completely stopped.
- Their use in such cases is undesirable:
- with ulcers and gastritis;
- with a tendency to allergies;
- with thrombotic events.
Blackcurrant leaves can be combined with the following ingredients:
- raspberry leaf;
- foliage of cherries or gooseberries;
- rose hips, currants, etc .;
- lemon juice.
There can be many options - it all depends on the taste and the desired result.
Important! Healing herbs and their remedies are not at all harmless, therefore their use for medicinal purposes cannot last long. The optimal period is 1 month, after which the body should rest.
A drink that boosts the body’s immune strength can be prepared from the following ingredients:
- 5 currant leaves;
- 2 sprigs of mint;
- 1 teaspoon of black or green tea (optional);
- 300 ml of boiling water;
- if desired, you can add several rose hips and currants.
The brewing process is simple:
- Pour boiling water over the teapot.
- Fold all the components in a kettle and pour boiling water.
- Insist for about 15 minutes (you can cover the container with a towel).
A delicious and aromatic drink is ready to drink.
Did you know? To replenish the daily requirement for vitamin C, you need to eat 50 g of blackcurrant berries, and red - up to 150 g.
By preparing timely currant leaves for the winter, you can delight your household with healthy and tasty drinks without “chemistry” and flavors throughout the season. Have a nice tea party and good health!