Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sa-weeet Annie

I found a really great blog post from The Primitive Country Bug's Blog on how to preserve your sweet annie. And since I have been wondering myself how in the world people keep it green when mine turns brown... I figured that I would post this for myself as a reference and possibly for you all as well. (So here it is almost word for word and I have used some of her pictures as well so I can't take credit for any of those. And please if you would like to visit her blog for the full Sweet Annie Post - Click the link above. ) Sweet Annie is an annual(for some reason mine acts as a perinnial-BrittanyJo) that's easy to grow from seed. Simply sow the seeds after danger of frost has passed. She likes full sun and average soil. No extra attention is really needed except for occasional watering during dry spells but don't overwater. Sweet Annie is a tall gal, she'll grow up to 6 feet tall so be sure to plant her in the back of your flower bed. Some might call this a noxious weed and it can become invasive, but Sweet Annie attracts bees, butterflies and birds.
What to watch for: In late summer, watch for the development of “beads” ~tiny yellow flowers along the branches. If the branches are cut too soon, they will be of poor quality, so wait until the blossoms open, giving the plants a yellowish cast. To harvest Sweet Annie, simply cut the stems off close to the ground. The stems will be thick and woody so use a heavy pair of lopping shears to cut them with. Then cut the smaller branches off the main stem and group them together in small bundles, wrapping the ends with heavy twine or rubber bands. Be sure to leave some stems in the garden if you want it to self sow the following year. How to hang them to dry: Hang the bunches in a warm, dry, dark location with good air circulation for 1 to 1 1/2 weeks to dry; garage or attic rafters are ideal. When the centers of the bunches feel completely dry, hang them in a dark, dry place to store them or place them in a cardboard box.Sweet Annie has been used for a long time as a natural room air freshener. Folks in the old general store would hang a bunch of Sweet Annie from the corner of a room to cover up musty odors. In the olden days, and most likely in many Amish and Mennonite homes today, Sweet Annie would be hung in the pantry to give a pleasing scent, but also to act as a pest deterrent. Hang a bunch in your bathroom or closet for a clean, fresh smell when you enter.Sweet Annie will keep her scent for a very long time, even when not preserved. Preserved Sweet Annie will stay soft, hold its color and last for years. Air dried Sweet Annie will stay green when kept out of direct sunlight but will become brittle and shed, eventually turning brown over a long period of time.
Keeping it clean: Preserved Sweet Annie is easy to keep clean (just blow lightly with a hair dryer) while air dried Sweet Annie is hard to keep clean, it is too brittle to blow the dust off from.
Preserving Methods: If you want to preserve your Sweet Annie after it's been picked, stand it in about 3 inches of HOT water mixed with glycerin oil 2 to one and you will see in a couple days the color changing to a dark green sorta like spinach. Remove it from the mixture and gently dry it off or lay it in front of a fan to dry so it won't mold. It will be soft and fragrant but will have a darker color to it.Another method of treating Sweet Annie is by mixing regular school glue half and half with water and spraying it on your sprigs. Some people have been known to use hair spray too. Whatever method you choose, you'll be able to enjoy your Sweet Annie for a very long time.

1 comment:

Leisha said...

Awesome tutorial! Thanks so much for directing me to it! Recently purchased a house in the country and I am just now learning about all of the country things! lol