Drying Herbs from the Garden

Drying herbs from the garden is a great way to have your herb supply all winter.

Fresh dried herbs from your garden are much more flavorful and potent compared with store bought herbs from the market.

Keeping your garden herbs trimmed keeps them growing and healthy all season and into the next year.

While you trim your herbs back it is a great time to dry the herbs from the garden.

Some of my favorite herbs I use from year to year are Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint and Basil. Dry your favorite herbs for teas and sauces that you use all the time.

Drying your herbs increases the storage life while concentrating the flavors. To substitute dried herbs for fresh, use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for each 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs.

Drying herbs with long stems such as oregano and peppermint.

  1. Trim your herbs in the morning before it gets hot.
  2. Wash herbs in cool water to remove dirt and bugs.
  3. For herbs with longer stems bundle herbs in 6 to 7 stems in each bundle. Keeping the bundles small helps the herbs dry evenly and quickly.
  4. Wrap a small rubber band or string around bundle ends and tie securely.
  5. Hang the herb bundle on a rack or shelf to dry.

Let the herbs dry in the open air.

A warm dry space will dry the herbs in a few days. Herbs will be dry and crumbly when all the moisture is gone.

Drying herbs with shorter stems such as basil and thyme.

  1. Trim your herbs such as basil at the bottom of the stems leaving a couple of leaf buds so the plant can continue to grow.
  2. Wash leaves in cool water and spin dry in a salad spinner or wrap in a towel and press lightly to remove water.
  3. Layer herb leaves on a cookie sheet and cover with paper towels.
  4. Place cookie sheet on top of a shelf or on top the refrigerator where the air circulates. If you have a gas oven with a pilot light you can place the herbs in the oven to dry.

When the herbs are dry they will crumble to the touch. They are ready to store. Remove the dried leaves from the stems of the herbs. Hold the stem over a bowl while you remove the dried leaves.

While holding onto the stem with one hand, slide your other hand down the stem. The leaves will fall into the bowl.

Store dried herb leaves in bags or jars and put in a cool dark place. Dried herbs will last for a year if stored this way.

Use your herbs in cooking and teas through out the year and replace next season when fresh herbs are available again.

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