How To Dry and Preserve Your Garden Fresh
Extending Your Herb Garden
Air drying herbs is not only the easiest and
least expensive way to dry fresh herbs, but this slow drying
process also doesn't deplete the herbs of their oils. This
process works best with herbs that don't have a high moisture
content, like Bay, Dill, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Summer
Savory and Thyme. Moisture dense herbs, like Basil, Chives,
Mint, Tarragon preserve better in a dehydrator, or try freezing
them. Use a microwave or oven to dry herbs only as a last
resort. These actually cook the herbs to a degree, diminishing
the oil content and flavor.
How To Dry Herbs
- Cut healthy branches from your herb
- Remove any dry or diseased leaves
- Shake gently to remove and insects.
- If necessary, rinse with cool water and
pat well dry with paper towels. Wet herbs will mold and rot.
- Remove the lower leaves along thebottom
inch or so of the branch.
- Bundle 4 - 6 branches together and tie as
a bunch. You can use string or a rubber band. The bundles
will shrink as they dry and the rubber band will loosen, so
check periodically they the bundle is not slipping. Make
small bundles if you are trying to dry herbs with high water
- Punch or cut several holes in a paper
bag. Label the bag with the name of the herb you are drying.
- Place the herb bundle upside down into
- Gather the ends of the bag around the
bundle and tie closed. Make sure the herbs are not crowded
inside the bag.
- Hand the bag upside down in a warm, airy
- Check in about two weeks to see how
things are progressing. Keep checking weekly until your
herbs are dry and ready to store.
Storing Dried Herbs
- Store your dried herbs in air tight
containers. Zip closing bags will do. I like to use small
- Be sure to label and date your
- Your herbs will retain more flavor is you
store the leaves hole and crush them when you are ready to
- Discard any dried herbs that show the
slightest sign of mold.
- Place containers in a cool, dry place
away from sunlight.
- Dried herbs are best used within a year.
As your herbs loose their color, they are also loosing their
- Use about 1 teaspoon crumbled dried
leaves in place of a tablespoon of fresh