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The Best Way To Preserve Herbs By Drying & Freezing

Do you grow herbs? If so, you know most herbs produce A LOT, and all at the same time. Want to learn how to dry fresh herbs to preserve their flavors for off-season enjoyment? In addition to the dry herbs how-to tutorial, you will learn how to freeze herbs in ice cube trays. Which herbs are best dried, and which are best frozen?

Here are my quick and easy steps on How to Dry Herbs when they are fresh to enjoy year-round.

First, let me say, I’m not an expert, nor do I claim to be, but these methods have worked for me over the past several years.

I love to grow herbs.

They are so easy and, for the most part, disease free.

In addition, they are beautiful in your garden.

You can see my list of the best herbs to grow and why.

Herbs on Wooden drying rack

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Where To Plant Herbs

Herbs are an excellent addition to any garden, flower pot, or landscape.

In the forefront are chives in bloom and a beautiful mound of parsley mixed in with my landscape.

Plant herbs in your landscape, planters and garden.

Basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano, and thyme are all staples in my garden. Each of these herbs is wonderful to have on hand for recipes. I have this wonderful Basil Pesto Recipe that I shared in another post.

Sage and Chives are two of my favorites for their beautiful spring flowers. In addition, these herbs survive the winter here in the south.

Insider Tip

The more you gather your herbs, the better they will produce. Most herbs will get tall and produce less if not harvested regularly.

To keep your herbs producing longer, prevent them from flowering by snipping off the buds as soon as they appear and harvest regularly.

Basil and oregano will produce all summer if kept from flowering.

You may want to harvest dill seeds as well as the leaves. The dill seeds are great for pickling.

Fresh Herbs in a Basket - Dill, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives.

Why Should You Preserve Herbs?

Herbs are easy to grow, mostly disease free and plentiful. In addition, they are easy to preserve.

In light of the high prices of groceries, these simple guidelines on drying herbs can help you save money.

How To Dry Fresh Herbs from your garden to enjoy all year round.

How Do You Dry Fresh Herbs?

So let’s start with how to dry fresh herbs to have them available after the growing season. Purchased herbs are so expensive and don’t have the flavor of those you preserve yourself.

  • Gather your herbs at their peak.
  • Gather mid-day when the sun has dried any moisture from the plant.
  • Wash if necessary to remove any dirt or bugs.
  • Remove any leaves that appear to be diseased. Basil can have brown spots occasionally.
  • Pat dry
  • Choose a method of drying.

Which Herbs Dry Well

Although you can dry all herbs, I prefer to freeze some herbs that are not as easily preserved by drying.

Here are the herbs that I like to dry.

  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Lavender
Fresh parsley on a white plate for Dry Herbs How To.

What Are Some Herb Drying How-To Methods?

There are several ways to dry your herbs. Air dying is my preferred method; however, it’s more time-consuming. I enjoy having the herbs in my home during the drying process. I love the fresh, natural fragrance they emit.

I have a small wooden drying rack that a friend gifted me.

Other air-drying racks, such as a pasta drying, would work beautifully. If you have the space for this, here is a cute sign rack for drying herbs

A food dehydrator is another way to dry your herbs. This requires a more expensive purchase, but if you dry a lot of vegetables in addition to herbs, it’s well worth the expense.

You can dry herbs in the microwave. However, this is not my preferred method because the herbs lose a lot of their flavor.

How To Dry Herb by hanging to air dry.

How to Dry Fresh Herbs – Air Dry Method

  1. Begin by making sure the fresh herbs are dry.
  2. Cut away any excess stems.
  3. Gather a small cluster of your herbs and tie them with twine or a twist tie.
  4. Hang your herbs upside down
  5. Tie onto the rack. If using twine, don’t tie a heavy knot.
  6. Place in a cool, dry place in your home.
  7. Avoid sunlight and humid areas of the home
  8. Most herbs are dry within a week.

My Herbs Are Dry, Now What?

When the herbs are dry, it is time to store them.

Dried dill, sage, oregano, thyme & basil are usually ready after one week.

Oregano Chives & thyme on a white plate ready to Dry Herbs How To Hang to dry, freeze, or dehydrate.

Brown Paper Bag Method

My tried, and true method is to place the entire stem into a brown paper bag.

Don’t crush or break your herbs into serving pieces until you are ready to use them. The oils and fragrance will be released when you crush the dried herbs.

Be sure to label your herbs with the name and date you stored them. They can all look very similar once they are dry.

Herbs begin to look alike after drying. Label and date your supply.

Dried Dill stored in paper bag

I place the closed paper bag in my pantry, and when the dried herbs are needed, I just remove the amount called for and crush the herbs at that time.

Long-Term Storage Ideas

Dried Fresh Herbs stored in the paper bag will last for up to 6 months. If you still have herbs after 6 months, it’s best to store them in an airtight container.

Glass is best because plastic and tin may taint the fragrance of herbs.

In addition, plastic can absorb the herb scent, and it’s almost impossible to remove.

If you have an abundance of dried herbs and already know that you’ll have plenty after 6 months, you can transfer your supply to your air-tight container after a few weeks in the paper bag.

Allowing your herbs some extra drying time in the paper bag is recommended to avoid molding of the herbs.

The dried herbs will stay fragrant for at least a year. They will keep longer than a year; however, they will begin to lose their potency.

Freeze Herbs: Ice Cube Trays

Another method for preserving herbs is to freeze them.

Although this is about drying herbs, some herbs are best when frozen.  Here is how to freeze those herbs to preserve them for after the growing season is over.  Learn which herbs to freeze.

Which Herbs Are Best To Freeze

All herbs are not equal, and all herbs don’t dry the same.

I usually freeze those that don’t respond to drying as well.

Basil, chives, cilantro, and parsley are herbs I like to freeze.

This year I tried drying the basil again as an experiment. It appears to be drying well but in previous years not so well.

It may be the time of harvesting that was different.

Basil in a basket of fresh herbs

How To Freeze Herbs

I like to freeze my herbs in a cube of ice. This is another super easy and inexpensive method. You can freeze herbs in ice cube trays and then transfer them to freezer storage bags or containers.

  1. Wash your herbs and remove any damaged or diseased leaves and stems.
  2. Fill ice tray approx. 1/2 full of water
  3. Add as many herbs as will fit into the tray.
  4. Freeze until solid
  5. Remove from the ice cube tray and place frozen herbs in a ziplock freeze bag or sealable freezer-safe container.
Freeze Herb in ice cube tray to preserve them for year round use.

Just pull out your frozen cubes to add to recipes all winter long. Frozen herbs are great for at least a year.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy these tips. I will be sharing more ways to use herbs in the coming weeks. Here is a fresh Basil Pesto Recipe that we love. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss a post.

How to Make Basil Pesto


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How to Dry Herbs to preserve them during the growing season.  You will save money by having these dried herbs in your pantry all winter.
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Check out these great tips for growing Cilantro and this Yummy recipe from my friend Stacy

Loaded Garden Nachos with Cilantro and Spinach


Thursday 13th of July 2023

Great ideas. I dry my herbs. They make great hostess gifts as well.


Thursday 13th of July 2023

Renae, What a great idea.


Wednesday 8th of June 2022

These are great tips! I want to do this this summer.


Wednesday 8th of June 2022

Stacy, It's so easy and a money saver.

Nachos Loaded With Fresh Cilantro and Garden Veggies - Stacy Ling

Monday 6th of June 2022

[…] Want to learn how to dry herbs? Check out my friend Rachel’s blog called How to Dry Herbs. […]


Friday 13th of May 2022

Great idea on the frozen ice cube method.


Saturday 14th of May 2022

Suzanne, thank you!

Pamela @ DIY Vibes

Thursday 18th of June 2020

This is great information! I'm growing herbs this summer and it let's me enjoy all year! Love your table as well!

[email protected]

Friday 19th of June 2020

Pamela, I really appreciate you for stopping by. So glad you like the post. I'll be happy to answer any questions. Rachel