Herb & Spices Drying Tips

New Techniques For Preparing Herbs

Drying Herbs - Tips For Lake Kiowa Gardners

All you gardners out there should have your pre-fertilizers complete, and hopefully you have started looking for the next round of beautiful tender plants, herbs and spices you will be growing this fall. Pay particular attention to the plants to see they are well branched, full, and a lovely green color. And, remember to continue to fertilize with appropriate kinds of fertilizer for a more robust harvest this year.

Many of our residents here at Lake Kiowa already have beautiful gardens. Most of these families have fabulous cooks that are also growing herbs and spices, then drying them to have all year long for those special meals. We  have events with options to sell your products at any of the booths that support many of our organizations here at Lake Kiowa if you have an overstock of products and so desire.

If you are interested in starting to grow herbs and spices, or have never dried them before, please take note, and yes take notes, while we challenge you to do your thing. Drying herbs is a great way to preserve them to use in your recipes into the fall and winter months.

For many of us who do not garden; store purchases are great options for purchases of herbs and spices are both fresh and dried. The selections are varied and have in recent years been stocked in most leading grocery stores. If you just want to grow your own, save some money, and have huge quality product, you will only have a one-time expense, with a fresh homegrown supply of herbs year after year. Also be aware that most store bought herbs also have been irradiated, similar to the pasteurization process done with milk. This means that they are exposed to gamma radiation in order to destroy possible microbes or pathogens, also killing a lot of the nutrient content and vitamins. Drying your own herbs is not only inexpensive, but you also preserve the quality of the herb.

Now, if you don’t have much of a green thumb, you can often find fresh organic herbs at the farmer’s market. With a little bit of work and time you will have a good quality, organic herb, bottled and ready for year round cooking. There are options in North Texas for those purchases. You may also want to learn about your neighbors out here who do grow and maybe work out a deal with them.

Tips On Drying Your Own Herbs:

  1. Be sure to pick them early: Remember to pick your herbs prior to overgrowth and flowering. Plants will continue growing throughout the season and prevent them from getting too leggy and overgrown, harvest and cut the plants back, leaving a few inches of stem on. Try harvesting your herbs in the morning, after the dew has evaporated, but before the afternoon Sun has drained color and flavor. If drying will happen later, you can store them in jars of water, just as you would fresh flowers. Try to not harvest your herbs too late in the growing season after the Sun has started to dry and wilt them. It is best to harvest them while they are plentiful and lush. Sage, parsley, rosemary, and thyme grow well into the fall. That means that you will be able to use these fresh until the first frost comes and still before they need to be harvested and dried.
  2. Be sure to wash the stems completely: In growth if you keep them free of dirt you can gently shake them to remove any residual dirt or dust. If you choose to wash your herbs, carefully swish them in a bowl of cool water or you can gently pat them dry with a towel or allow them to air dry on a cooling rack. Make sure you remove any leaves that are discolored or spotted.
  3. The drying process: Herbs that have a lower moisture content such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, and sage can be air-dried. To air dry, simply divide your herbs in small batches (about 3-6 branches) and bind them together at the sturdiest bottom stems and the main stem. You can use light twine, twist ties, or tender rubber bands for kids work well for binding. If you use string to tie, be sure toleave a good length of string at the end to use for hanging. Hang the stems upside down in a dry, dark place with some air circulation; and not in the sun. Sunlight will reduce the color and flavor. A well-ventilated garage, attic or basement will work. If you have no place to hang them, you can also lay your herbs on a screen to dry. Be sure to check on them frequesntly and not allow moldy leaves, or pests to gather. Air-dried herbs should be ready in a few weeks, or when they become brittle.
  4. Storing your herbs: Once herbs are dried and crisp they are ready to be stored. Remove the dry leaves from the stems and store them in a small airtight container. You can store whole leaves or crush them between your fingers before storing. Old spice bottles, Mason jars, or even plastic baggies work really well for storage. Be sure to label your herbs as many look similar when they are dried. To keep your herbs fresher longer, store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and away from steam.

Now, you are ready to begin your fall project in growing and drying herbs and spices. Enhancing your family favorites, or trying brand new recipes using these fresh and dried herbs will be a delight. Both for you cooking and for friends and family tasting your wonderful cooking. Enjoy the fall season.

Reminders About Living Here!

Consider All Your Real Estate Options

We Love Realtors In Texas - Begin In Lake Kiowa

Buy real estate, sell real estate, lease real estate. These are the most important 3 things all realtors love to hear! Yes, it's true. We also love to hear that there are many reasons why you love to love Realtors in Texas.  Everyone here at Lake Kiowa has the best of the best when it comes to real estate. Remember we love Texas Estate, it is why we are here.

Many of our realtors here sell all over the state to serve you better. Some may provide services here at Lake Kiowa. But regardless of the reason Lake Kiowa Loves Texas Real Estate and beyond.  The bottom line is you have access to the best real estate opportunities right here in Texas anytime you call. With over 100,000 loyal to Texas Realtors to choose from, we invite you to join us in finding you that perfect home for you and your family.

Author Jamie Lee with the Texas Realtors Association Says There Are Many More Reasons To Love Texas Real Estate:

  • The stable housing market here in Texas is first. Did you know Texas small land sales jumped by 14% percent in 2016?  It’s one of only 10 states on steady ground. Fantastic news across the board.
  • Home prices are expected to keep going up. Rising demand and low inventory have created a seller’s market. Here in the North Texas market, the introduction of international companies relocating to our state is creating a great opportunity for buying and selling to meet this new demand.
  • We have the highest average equity levels. This means your property may be worth more than what you owe. In a market with high demand to keep up, real estate becomes part of a successful economy. Jobs are created and filled as people relocate to meet their needs.
  • It’s the No. 1 destination for state-to-state movers. This demand for housing can benefit your resale value. Maybe you want to consider investing or may be considering retirement; now is a great time.
  • A low unemployment rate means lots of job opportunities to help you achieve your real estate goals. More and more people will relocate from other parts of the country to fill these much needed jobs and bring with them more economic buying power.
  • You can make a great living here. Special jobs need special people to fill those jobs. According to national statistics, Texas is the No. 2 state in which to make a living, due in part to its affordability and lack of state income tax. This is great news for everyone.
  • Thinking about making a change? When you’re done working, warm weather and low cost of living make it an ideal location to retire here in Texas in your favorite location. Maybe even here at Lake Kiowa. We have a great place to live here!
  • Relatively low housing costs help make Texas a great place to raise a family. Builders are gearing up to meet demand. Homes, Master Planned Communities, Duplexes, and slightly rural communities are making a big difference.
  • A supportive business climate makes it the best state for business, especially small businesses. If you have a great service to offer the Texas economy, check into Economic Development in the city of your choice to find out what benefits you may have for your relocation.

Because only in Texas can you find a Texas REALTOR® to help you meet your real estate goals. Texas Realtors, what is so special about them you may ask?

Texas REALTORS® and private-property owners to keep homeownership affordable, protect private-property rights, and promote public policies that benefit homeowners. With over 110,00 members, The Texas Association of Realtors has a professional organization that truly represents all aspects of real estate in Texas. It just doesn't get any better than this!

The agents of Lake Kiowa Premiere Real Estate are always available to help you with any questions or concerns. Please call us today!



Try Butterfly Gardening for Texas

Butterfly gardening in texasHere in Texas there are really a large number of butterfly species. Whether you live near the beaches of the Gulf Coast or in the mountains of the Trans-Pecos, or here at Lake Kiowa, all Texans can enjoy the color and tranquility that butterflies bring to any outdoor space.

Lake Kiowa invites everyone who loves to garden, to consider using your garden to attract butterflies. Most of us out here do take the time to enhance our community with beauty, yards, patios, and have plenty of beautiful pots around to enjoy flowers and vines alike. This is just another beauty item you can add to the list.

In her book, Butterfly Gardening for Texas, author and expert Geyata Ajilvsgi took the time to share a wealth of practical information about all kinds of butterflies and the many flowers and other plants they utilize in their miraculous life cycle: from hidden egg to munching caterpillar to cryptic chrysalis to nectar-sipping, winged adult.

This engaging, nontechnical style of writing for anyone who wants to attract butterflies to the yard or garden, will provides tips for making gardens caterpillar- and butterfly-friendly, in-depth profiles of more than fifty butterflies, descriptions of the food plants for a variety of both caterpillars and butterflies, and plant lists for easy selection and substitution, depending on where you live and what is available.

If you are wanting more information, specific advice on what to plant where, Ajilvsgi has designed useful, adaptable landscape plans and extensive planting options for each of seven state regions. Helpful appendices aid gardeners in taking photographs of the butterflies they attract, in locating sources for seeds and plants, and in finding organizations and other instructive publications for additional information about these beautiful and beneficial insects.

As the popularity of butterfly gardening continues to increase, gardeners of all skill levels will find Butterfly Gardening for Texas an invaluable source of guidance and inspiration. Considered among the state’s top plant and butterfly experts, she is the author of Wild Flowers of Texas and other books.

It's never too late to add things to your patio garden, or even around the house in the exterior landscaping. Your time outdoors is the reason you are here, being able to play golf, be active in the community here at Lake Kiowa, so why not give it a try!

New Projects At Home

Remodel Your Lake Kiowa Home

Energy Star Savings For Your Lake Kiowa HomesSummer is here at Lake Kiowa and all those dreams about fun and exciting activities are just waiting around the corner for you. Fishing, water skiing, sitting on the dock, or having that BBQ out back on the patio are definitely going to happen. Holiday plans are in full swing with our Lake Kiowa activities, but also with you and all your families and friends as well. Keeping that in mind, since plenty of family & friends are coming with you to the lake it occurs to us that you may want to consider your options for upgrades of all kinds in your lake home.  Why not begin with hot water? Installing a new tankless water heater solution to help end the hot water wars with family here for the week!

There will always be enough hot water to go around, and give you the power to live better with providing your Lake Kiowa home with endless supply of hot water, whenever you need it—even for multiple tasks at the same time. Instant hot water at the kitchen sink is always a great starting place, and truth be known, Tankless Water Heaters revolutionize comfort, energy efficiency and convenience. Water usage in the home is a great way to start saving this summer. Remember increasing the value of your lake home will also help when deciding to sell as well. Every energy saving step you take now, means potential gains when you sell. Buyers are always looking for ways to save money.

Here is a consideration from the friendly people at Rinnai, who feature Energy Star Products in appliances, water heaters, gas water heaters, and so much more.
The Rinnai Ultra Series features what they call the Ultimate in efficiency. Delivering one of the most energy-efficient performances, the Ultra Series features a condensing design with two heat exchangers to maximize hot water output. RUR Models featuring ThermaCirc360 include built-in recirculation pumps to offer faster hot water. Instant hot water at the sink and dish washer is always a consideration for entertaining right!

Take A Look At These Great Features:

  • ENERGY STAR® qualified - Energy Factor of up to .96
  • RUR Models featuring ThermaCirc360 offer faster hot water with an integrated recirculation pump and internal bypass line - with or without a dedicated return line
  • Available in five sizes: 130,000,152,000, 160,000, 180,000 and 199,000 BTU
  • Allows for either Concentric Polypropylene or dual-pipePVC/CPVC venting, providing the most venting flexibility in a single application of any manufacture
  • Easy maintenance is achieved with isolation valves

Remodeling, upgrades to appliances, water heaters, HVAC units, and the like are always ways to increase the value of your Lake Kiowa Home. It's time to educate yourself about all the wonderful new energy saving products that have been approved to guarantee to save you money over the course of each and every year. Remember you can explore all your options now, and plan for the fall projects and be ready for the Holidays this year as well. That means more money for fun right. Maybe thinking about the purchase of a new boat, pontoon, or ski boat is in the goal you set last year. If so, then let's get busy making that happen now.

Happy Summer Everyone Out Here At Lake Kiowa!  We look forward to seeing you at The Lodge and Tavern. Happy Golfing as well.

GCCAC logoLake Kiowa Residents You Are Invited To The Annual Cattleman's Ball

Show Your Community Support!

Children's Advocacy Center of Grayson County invites you to support The Annual Cattleman's Ball this year.  The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grayson County is to provide a multi-disciplinary collaboration of services for the purpose of prevention, intervention, investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse. This collaboration is an effort to reduce the potential for additional trauma as a result of investigation and prosecution by promoting recovery or the child victim and non-offending family members, and facilitating the prosecution of those individuals who perpetuate crimes against children in Grayson County, TX.

Our Family Advocates work directly with the children and non-offending caregivers seen at our center to ensure they have the necessary resources to improve their lives. Follow-up contact with these families is a priority to ensure their needs are being met. By providing many many types of necessary services to these kids, we are looking for community support from you and your business here in North Texas. If you have more questions, would like to volunteer, or make a donation to Children's Advocacy Center of Grayson County please Click Here Now!

See the flyer for more information in the flyer for attendance to the Cattleman's Ball.

CattlemansBall - Support The Community


Get Gardening Now!

Start Planting This Weekend - Lake Kiowa Premier Real Estate

Well the summer rains have begun out here at Lake Kiowa and hopefully we have had our last of the cold cold weather. So, what have you decided on doing for your gardening game this year? Here are a few things you shouldn't forget. Make sure you check the planting schedule below to determine which veggies you may want the grandkids to help you plant are and get those seeds before this weekend. Make it a fun task all week long then take a break and go to Denton for the Jazz Festival on Friday.

Begin Planting This Week!

  • Remember that is is the time for you to consider new summertime annuals to replace pansies and other cool-season crops need to be in full swing. All time beauties for Texas are: trailing lantanas, copper plants, firebush, coleus, wax begonias, ornamental sweet potatoes, angelonias, cleome, moss rose, hybrid purslane and many many more
  • If you are growing hearty food items that will tolerate our Texas heat, why not consider: okra, sweet potatoes (sandy soils), southern peas; or check out more options with the calendar below like beets and broccoli
  • Now is the time to think about planting those new trees and shrubs, check out all the surrounding nurseries which right now have the best supplies of the year. If you find the perfect tree for that special location, you will need to commit to water them by hand for the first two years. New trees must have their root balls soaked thoroughly. Often sprinkler irrigation doesn’t get the job done. We have had 90* as early as May...
  • If you have brown patches, need to plant new turf from sod, seed, or plugs, now is the time for maximum growing seasons

Pruning Is A Must For Maximum Growth All Summer!

  • Take a close look to see if you have any frozen hydranges, crepe myrtles, pmegranates, oleanders, or other bloomers that my have suffered damage or freeze. Remember in  Texas and you may need to remove dead shoots from them. Remember to reshape the new growth that returns when appropriate
  • If your spring flowering shrubs and vines have new growth, be sure to check for dead branches and remove then reshape as new growth replaces those you pruned
  • You need to establish the new height for the lawn and begin to mow regularly. This means you will eliminate a lot of spring weeds and get the grass off to a great start for 2017. Mow regularly and at recommended height to eliminate spring weeds and get grass off to a good start.

Start To Fertilize Now!

  • Turf, trees, shrubs and myrtles and in general most things, can be fertilized with all nitrogen fertilizers. If you have more sand type soils, begin with a high nitrogen slow release form.
  • Be sure all your container plants including hanging baskets; are complete with and encapsulated timed-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Supplement that with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer till next fall.

Make Sure You Control The Pests!

  • Watch for Cankerworms which might be devouring foliage from parts or all of some species of trees. While these types of insects will soon run their course and trees will fill in again; remember you may want to apply a Bacillus thuringiensis biological worm spray just to make sure
  • Seridium canker is turning big areas of Italian cypress and Leyland cypress brown and dead looking. While there is no spray to control this fungus, it may be time to seek another replacement
  • All Broadleafed weeds can be controlled with application of broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D). On the list would be dichondra, dollar weed, dandelions, clover and poison ivy among many others

North Texas on average has approximately 250 days between the last and first frost. Using the planting schedules below will help you get the most out of your garden. See more at :Planting Calendar Planting vegetable seeds or transplants at the correct time is important to getting the most out of your garden. Knowing your first and last frost dates will help you start your vegetable seeds at the right time.

Planting Schedule For Lake Kiowa - Lake Kiowa Premier Real Estate


Planting vegetable seeds or transplants at the correct time is important to getting the most out of your garden. Knowing your first and last frost dates will help you start your vegetable seeds at the right time. 
Texas is in USDA plant hardiness zones 6-9.
- See more at:

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