Introduction: Dried Gifts From the Garden

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

We have grown our own produce for several years but this year was the first year I planted herbs. When the herbs were ready to pick; I realized we were going to have plenty to share with family and friends so I began drying them; using the food dryer and hanging them by their stems. I did this all summer. I have made seasoning mixes and have frozen a lot of them. Organic herbs are expensive in the store and people who love to cook really appreciate organic gifts and would probably have loved these in plastic bags but I wanted to create a beautiful package that would be used after the herbs were gone. This one was my favorite to share with you.

Fresh and dried organic herbs can make a simple recipe exquisite. Tonight I made potato and leek soup using the bouquet garni bag. The soup was made with chicken stock, leeks, golden potatoes, and a bouquet garni and it was so delicious. I have never tried potato leek soup before; and will be adding it to my menu and will share it with you in a new instructable.

My favorite dried items in this instructables were the chives, tomatoes, and oranges. The chives had a roasted flavor that surprised me.

This instructable is how I made this book and items in it and a few recipes that I made using the ingredients.

Follow through and let's get started~

Step 1: Ingredients Tools and Supplies

Ingredients, tools, and supplies to make the gift book:

Variety of dried herbs and produce.

Three ring notebook (I used a small one but if you will be making a fruit book, I would use a large notebook with larger plastic cups with lids). Plastic bags do not work very well because the larger pieces create too much bulk at the bottom of the page.

Decorative card stock paper and recipe cards if desired or make your own decorative paper.

Hole reinforcements if desired.

Clothes pin

Plastic zip lock bags

Plastic condiment containers and lids. I collected mine from take out.

Cardboard to stiffen the pages. A little heavier than a cereal box.




Hole punch

Glue and glue gun ( the glue did not stick to the condiment cups very well so I used a glue gun for that part.

Supplies and tools to make cloth Boquet Garni bag.

Light weight cotton fabric

White cotton thread

Embroidery thread, needle, and hoop

Bakers twine or shoe laces (both worked for me). Don't buy the thin stuff.

Pattern for image


Sewing machine or sew by hand


Pencil or embroidery transfer pencil or embroidery transfer pattern

Iron and ironing board

Step 2: Dried Produce

I dried my herbs and fruit in a food dehydrator as well as hanging herbs by their stems as shown in the pictures. I plan to sun dry tomatoes this year. I seasoned some of the tomatoes using spices that complimented them and seasoned the bananas and apples by coating them with lemon juice to prevent browning and which gave them a very nice flavor. I coated the lemons with Chinese mustard and was surprised at how good they tasted and will definitely make them again.

Step 3: Gather and Organize Tools and Supplies for the Book

Set up a work station with the binder, cardboard, decorative card stock paper, recipe cards, plastic bags, condiment containers and lids, dried produce, hole punch, pencil, clothes pin, scissors, ruler, Hole reinforcements, Glue, and glue gun.

I will list the supplies and ingredients for the rest of the books contest later.

Step 4: Assembly of the Book


Estimate how many pages you will be adding to the book.The size of the notebook will determine how many pages may be added, so the book will close properly. I used one full page and a narrow page to label the dried herbs. The Bouquet Garni bag added bulk to the page as well as two Bouquet Garni zip lock bags filled with a herb recipe.

Measure the inside of the notebook page slightly smaller than the size of the book to keep the page insert from extending the outside of the note book.

Mark and cut out the cardboard for the page inserts.

Cover the cardboard using the decorative paper by gluing two decorative pages together and folding it over the outside edge, so when the book is closed you can't see the cardboard.

Glue the decorative page to the cardboard as shown.

Mark the holes on the covered cardboard where the page attaches to the binder rings.

Use the hole punch and punch the holes.

Test the page to make sure the holes line up.

Cover the front and back page (holes) using the hole reinforcements.

Place the condiment cups on the page in the order you would like them to be and mark the centers.

Use the glue gun place a small drop of glue on the marked areas and allow the glue to cool slightly so it won't melt the plastic cups.

Place the cups on top of the glue and allow them to dry, but wait to insert the page into the notebook.

Fill the containers with herbs or dried produce and cover them with the lids.

Next cut a narrow page for the labels using the decorative paper. I typed out the ingredients and printed the page and glued the printed labels on top of the decorative paper for an attractive boarder.

Measure and cut the decorative pages to slip between the clear plastic to create an attractive cover for the notebook as well as the narrow back of the notebook. It is a little difficult to slide them in-be-tween the cover and plastic but, I noticed if I laid the book open on the table it loosened the plastic somewhat so the decorative page would slide in easier.

I hand wrote a couple of recipes on the decorative recipe cards for inserts in the pockets of the notebook.

I filled a small (snack size) zip lock bag with the herb ingredients for the recipe cards and used the hole punch so the bag could be added to the binder rings as shown.

Now place the pages into the notebook and clip the clothespin to the center ring as shown. The clothespin is used to attach the recipe card to the notebook as shown and can also be used for the Bouquet Garni Bag as I will share later.

Step 5: Make a Cloth Bouquet Garni Bag

Most cooks use un-hemmed cheese cloth and bakers twine to make a Bouquet Garni but bags are sold at retail stores. I made this one to enhance the gift. You could purchase cheese cloth and bakers twine to include in the gift package as an alternative.

I have never had trouble with embroidery thread fading but I have read it does happen. If you wish to avoid any disasters please pre-wash the thread and wash and iron the cotton cloth before embroidering or sewing the bag.

If using a transfer pencil please remember to write the words backwards.

Cutting, embroidering and sewing the Bouquet Garni bag. I cut my fabric larger than what I would normally because; I will be embroidering it and needed the extra fabric for the hoop. If you do not plan on doing this, you can make the bag to the exact measurements allowing for the back, bottom, and top seams.

The finish size of my bag (lined) was 6 and 1/2 inches long and 4 inches wide. I used 1/4 inch back and bottom seams but used a wide 5/8 inch hem at the top for the draw string to thread through easily. You can make it lined or unlined or smaller if you like. I think this size is about as large as I would want one, depending on the size of pan that will be used. I lined it because I thought it looked a little more professional and these instructions are for a lined bag.

Cut the fabric.

Draw an image on the fabric or use an embroidery transfer pattern or draw your own design.

Embroidery the design.

Fold the fabric in half and press.

Trim the excess fabric to the size you need by adding 1/4 inches to the back and bottom and 5/8 inch to the top.

Sew a 5/8 inch seam across the top (this will be the top section of the bag).

Trim threads and press.

Fold the fabric lengthwise so the wrong side is out and press.

This is important: We will not be sewing the top hem of the bag along the back seam because we need to leave this section open so the drawstring can be threaded through the top section of the bag.

Place the needle under the top hem and begin sewing the back seam using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Trim the threads and press the seam open.

Next fold the fabric so the seam is centered to the back of the bag.


Sew the bottom of the bag using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Trim threads and turn the bag right side out and press.

For the draw string you may use shoe laces or bakers twine. I don't recommend the real thin craft brands. It needs to be about as thick as a shoe lace or slightly thinner.

I could not find the size of shoe laces that I needed, so I cut one shoe-lace almost in half but did not cut the ends because I wanted to leave the plastic tips on to thread the string through the bag with ease. I cut the middle of the shoe lace and tied a tight knot and burned the knot so it would not ravel. I washed it with soapy water and dried it before threading it through the top hem.

Step 6: Different Types of Bouquet Garni Bags

Bouquet Garni's are made with cheese cloth and bakers twine as well as the green stalks from leeks which are very flavorful. I use them cut thinly in potato and leek soup. It is so delicious. Parsley stems are used also because the stems are very flavorful.

Step 7: How to Use the Bouquet Garni Bag

Boquet Garni bags are used to flavor clear soups, stocks and gravies without having to strain the stock. If you did not want to use the draw string you could just fold the top of the bag over and use a clothespin like the picture. After removing the bags from the stock; the herbs are emptied and the bag is thoroughly rinsed and line dried until the next use.

Step 8: How to Make the Onion Burlee and Onion Pique

Here are a couple of recipes similar in purpose to a bouquet Garni bag. I used these recipes for the inserts for the book and filled a snack bag with the herbs for making them.

An onion Burlee is used to color a clear stock although it does not give the stock much flavor. The Onion is cleaned and cut in half showing the rings and leaving plenty of root, as shown. It is cooked with high heat in a dry cast iron skillet with no water or oil, until the cut edge is blackened; it takes about five minutes. If you have a gas stove top; place the onion on the burner as shown and turn it often to blacken the surface evenly. It is easier to cook them on the burner because you don't need to wash a skillet. Teflon is not recommend because a high heat is needed.

An onion Pique is used to flavor soups, stocks, and sauces. To make one you cut off the top, clean the onion, and place the root towards you and cut straight across leaving plenty of root as shown in the picture. The root keeps the onion together. Then you cut a slit as shown and place a bay leaf in the slit and add 3 whole clove buds as shown. Pictures show two different ways of making them.

Step 9: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

Last summer my brother gave me his food dryer. I use it at least once a week. I use it before produce goes bad or I have small pieces of produce that are not enough to use in a recipe. I combine the dried produce to make soup and seasoning mixes which has cut way down of food waste. I will never be without one; now that I have used this one. Drying food is beneficial in that most of the time our freezer stays full so I can store more food over time.

These books were very much appreciated and admired by my family and friends. Now that I worked out all the bumps you can make them perfectly. I plan to see what I can dream up for fruit books.

Thank you instructables and contributors for making this community a great place to share and exchange ideas and creations. Have a safe and happy 2016~


Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Second Prize in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Meal Prep Contest

Participated in the
Meal Prep Contest