Catnip is a hardy perennial plant that grows 3 to 4 feet tall. Use the small, heart-shaped leaves in fresh salads, and the purple flowers as a garnish. Keep plant sheared back to keep in check. Dried leaves can be used for an herbal tea or for your cat.
Harvest leaves and flowers late summer. Cut the stems a few inches from the soil after the plant begins to bloom. Place the stems on a screen in a cool, well-ventilated area to dry. This can take from a few days to several weeks depending on the moisture content of the herb. Test for dryness by crushing a leaf between your thumb and finger. It should have a crispy, crackly sound and feel. If in doubt about how dry it is, preheat oven to the lowest setting, turn off and put the herbs in the oven on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so. When dry, strip the flowers and leaves from the stems and crush. Store in an airtight container (away from your feline friends!)
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