Saturday, October 26, 2013

How to Dry Herbs

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!

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~ 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!

12 comments:

  1. It is so satisfying to harvest and store your own produce. I find that herbs last quite a long time. Occasionally I freeze some in ice blocks ready to pop into soup when I make it.

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  2. Linda Andrews SmithOctober 26, 2013

    Sarah, you make it sound so easy, I will have to try this next year. Thanks~~

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  3. Thanks for sharing Sarah! Your herbs are so pretty! :D

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  4. Growing my own herbs is was what ignited my passion for gardening. I plan to expand my herb garden next year - this year I harvested only enough to last our family about 5-6 months.
    So Glad to see you back and praying you are healthy and thriving.
    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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  5. Herbs smell so wonderful! I love basil too, it adds the perfect flavor tomato soup. I hope to plant some herbs next year.

    -Sarah

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  6. Great tips, Sarah! I too have found that quite often, we can find alternative and easier ways to do many homemaking and homesteading tasks, that don't necessarily go by the book, but still work well! Knowing this makes it easier to try new things, without feeling so intimidated.

    ~ Betsy

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  7. I would agree, Elizabeth! I’ve heard about freezing herbs in ice blocks before, but have yet to give it a try. It sounds like it would work well!

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  8. I hope it works well for you, Linda!

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  9. You’re welcome, Tabitha!

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  10. They are fun to grow, aren’t they, Mrs. B? We don’t grow many different kinds yet, but like you, are hoping to expand next year.

    Thank you so much for praying for me! It has been wonderful to finally have my energy back and I think I’m all the way back to normal now . . . I’m so thankful to the Lord for that!

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  11. They do indeed, Sarah! I haven’t tried basil in tomato soup before, but after your recommendation, I’ll have to give that a try. If you are able to plant herbs next year, hopefully they will grow well for you!

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  12. It does, Betsy! I used to be a strictly ‘by the book’ type of person as I was intimidated by experimentation, but thanks to my Dad’s encouragement and his knack for innovation, I’ve gotten a lot more adventurous and because of that, have learned and tried so many new things!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)