These in cookery are parsley, chibbol, rocambole, winter savory, thyme, bay-leaf, basil, mint, borage, rosemary, cress, marigold, marjoram, etc. The relishing herbs or Ravigotte are tarragon, garden-cress, chervil, burnet, civet, and green mustard.
It is very important to those who are not in the constant habit of attending the markets to know when the various seasons commence for purchasing sweet herbs.
All vegetables are in the highest state of perfection, and fullest of juice and flavor, just before they begin to flower: the firs', and last crop have neither the fine flavor, nor the perfume of those which are gathered in the height of the season; that is, when the greater part of the crop of each species is ripe.
Take care they are gathered on a dry day, by which means they will have a better color when dried. Cleanse your herbs well from dirt and dust; cut oft" the roots; separate the bunches into smaller ones, and dry them by the heat of a stove, or in a Dutch oven before a common fire, in such quantities at a time, that the process may be speedily finished; i. e. 'Kill 'em quick,' says a great botanist; by this means their flavor will be best preserved: there can be no doubt of the propriety of drying herbs, etc. hastily by the aid of artificial heat, rather than by the heat of the sun. In the application of artificial heat, the only caution requisite is to avoid burning; and of this a sufficient test is afforded by the preservation of the color. The common custom is, when they are perfectly dried to put them in bags, and lay them in a dry place; but the best way to preserve the flavor of aromatic plants is to pick off the leaves as soon as they are dried, and to pound them, and put them through a hair sieve, and keep them in well-stopped bottles. The common custom is to put them into paper bags, and lay them on a shelf in the kitchen, exposed to all the fumes, steam, and smoke, etc.: thus they soon lose their flavor.
N. B. Herbs nicely dried are a very acceptable substitute when fresh ones cannot be got; but, however carefully dried, the flavor and fragrance of the fresh herbs are incomparably finer.
One ounce and a half of pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, half an ounce each, and eight cloves; pound and mix all together in a bottle. A little of each kind of spice should be well dried, pounded, and kept separately in small bottles, which should be labelled.