Happy kitties love catnip. If you have multiple cats or catnip junkies why not grow and dry your own? Learning to dry catnip saves money. Storing it properly keeps it fresh for longer periods of time. Reward feline friends with the freshest greens available. Dry and store homegrown fresh catnip for all the good little kitties in your life.
Catnip is a prolific herb that grows well indoors and out. No green thumb is required to produce, dry and store this cat-friendly herb. The problem is keeping it away from Fluffy while it grows. When planting catnip outside, surround it with a fence or screened box to keep neighborhood cats at bay. Grow indoors in a window with no cat access.
Catnip can be used fresh off the plant or dried in small bunches all year. Cats love both the leaves and flowers of the catnip plant. In the fall, trim catnip plants down to about two to three inches in height. This will help the plant grow healthier next season. Dry everything cut and trimmed from the plant by using the methods below.
You will need string, paper bags and some clean table surface for drying catnip. If you are drying more than one type of herb at a time, use a magic marker to label the bags. The bags of catnip will hang for drying. Make a simple hanger by pounding a row of nails into a 2x4 piece of plywood. On the opposite side of the board, pound two nails for hanging by a string. Hang in a cat-free cool dry room.
Banish cats from the room where you intend to prepare the catnip for drying. Begin by laying the catnip out lengthwise on the table. Stems should face away from you. Leaves and flowers should face toward you. Separate the catnip into bundles for drying. Each bundle should be about an inch in diameter at the stem end. Save the loose fresh catnip for kitty as a special treat.
Lay a six inch piece of string out on the table. Place the stems of the first catnip bundle on the string. Tie the bundle with a double knot. This makes the bundle easier to insert into the bag. Insert tied bundle into the bag for drying. The stems should be facing the bag opening. Tie a second string around the bag and stems at the top. This holds catnip in the bag for drying. Repeat with each bundle.
Hang the bags of catnip in a cool, moisture free room for drying. The room should be inaccessible to cats while the catnip is drying. It is possible to dry herbs without the bags. The bags will retain the freshness and color of leaves, stems and flowers. Be sure to thoroughly clean the processing room before allowing access to felines. Fresh catnip is a catalyst for frenzied cat spats.
The catnip will dry in one or two weeks. The best way to keep it fresh is by refrigerating it. Remove a bundle from a bag and crumble the leaves and flowers into a large bowl. Repeat until all bundles are done. Store dried catnip in a sealed container and keep refrigerated for future use. Don't be surprised when kitty begins to take a special interest in the opening of the refrigerator door.
This article was previously published on Yahoo! by this author.