When first beginning to grow herbs many years ago, I had researched about how to dry them and everything I read said something along the lines of: "dry in a dark, cool, dry place that is well-ventilated" . . . something that we didn't have! I have since learned that while this might be the ideal, it certainly isn't necessary in order to dry fresh herbs from your garden.
Drying herbs is really quite simple, and in case any of you, like I had been, are unsure how to successfully dry them without the ideal conditions, here is a simple 'how-to' to help you get started drying your own fresh herbs!
~ Harvest your herbs, rinse them, and spread them on a towel to air dry (I usually let them dry like this for about a day.)
~Tie the herbs into bundles - sometimes I've done small bundles, sometimes larger ones. You just want to make sure that they are small enough for the herbs to dry fairly quickly so they don't mold.
Parsley that is tied into bundles
~ Now that your herbs are tied into bundles, it's time to hang them up to dry. Sometimes it can be hard to find a place for this, but you can be creative! Right now I am using a vacant closet clothes rod and a small clothes drying rack. The latter is put wherever we have a place at the time, and it is currently in Leah's and my room with the above parsley drying on it.
Oregano hanging and drying
~ The time it takes the herbs to dry is variable as it depends on the moisture content of the herbs and the humidity where they are drying. For example, parsley dries fairly quickly while basil takes quite a bit longer! Usually I'll give the herbs three or four weeks, but you can go longer than that, too. (The oregano in the above picture hung in bundles for a couple of months before I had opportunity to tend to it!)
~ In our more humid location, it can be difficult for herbs to dry fully simply by hanging them. (Especially when drying during the summer months!) So if the herbs don't dry to the point that they crumble easily, here's a quick and easy way to finish drying them . . . set your oven to the lowest setting and pile the herbs onto a cookie sheet (you can leave them in the bundles if you like) . . . .
~ Once your oven is preheated, turn it off and put the herbs in the oven. Depending on how dry your herbs are at this point, it can take as little as just a few minutes in the oven before they are dry enough. Once the herbs are to the point that the leaves crumble easily between your fingers, they are dry enough for the next step.
~ Crumble the leaves into a bowl.
Dried and crumbled basil . . . one of my favorite herbs to use!
~ And then put the herbs into jars to be used as needed.
Enjoy using your own home-grown and dried herbs!