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How to Dry Herbs

Do you grow Herbs? If so, you know most herbs produce A LOT and all at the same time. This doesn’t allow you to use them all while they are fresh. Because I’m a waste not kinda girl, I’ve been drying my herbs to have when the season is over.

How to Air Dry Herbs to preserve them for use after the growing season is over.

Here are my quick and easy steps on How to Dry Herbs. 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 also see How to Plant an Indoor Herb Garden on this post.

Planting herbs in our landscape is a great way to add color and provide you with delicious fresh herbs.  Learn how to preserve your fresh herbs by air drying them to use after the growing season is over.
In the forefront is flowering chive and a beautiful mound of parsley in my landscape

Sage and Chives are two of my favorites for their beautiful spring flowers. Also, both of these herbs come back each year here in the South. Basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano, thyme are all staples in my garden. Each of these herbs are wonderful to have on hand for recipes. I have a wonderful Basil Pesto Recipe that I’ll be sharing in another post.

Oregano, thyme and sage are all easy to dry and preserve for the winter months.  Here is an easy way to Dry Herbs. Learn which herbs to dry.

How to Dry Herbs

So let’s get on with how to dry your herbs in order 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 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.
Cutting herbs at the right time makes preserving and drying your herbs so much more effective.  Drying herbs saves you money and are so much tastier than purchased spices.

Drying 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 was gifted to me by a friend. Other air drying racks such as a pasta drying rack would work beautifully. If you have the space for this, here is 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 with this method.

Air Drying Herbs is easy and inexpensive.  How to preserve your herbs for long after the growing season is over.

Hanging Air Dry Method

  • Begin by making sure the herbs are dry.
  • Cut away any excess stems.
  • Gather a small cluster of your herbs together and tie them with twine or a twist tie.
  • Hang your herbs upside down
  • Tie onto the rack. If using twine, don’t tie a heavy knot.
  • Place in a cool, dry place in your home.
  • Avoid sunlight and humid areas of the home
  • Most herbs are dry within a week.
Tie & hang your herbs upside down to avoid the loss of natural oils.

My Herbs are Dry, Now What?

Dryed Herbs ready to be stored after approx. one week of drying.  How to Dry Herbs by preserving them for the winter months.
Dried dill, sage, thyme & basil after one week.

Now it’s time to store them. 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.

Storing dried herbs in a brown paper bag for at least a few weeks after drying, assures that all the moisture has been removed from the herbs.
This is my supply of dill.
Label and date your storage containers.  Most herbs look very similar once they are dried and preserved.  See How to Dry Herbs here.
Herbs begin to look alike after drying. Label and date your supply.

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

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 in an airtight container. Glass is best because plastic and tin may taint the fragrance of your herb. Also, 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,

Freezing Herbs

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.

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. This year it dried well, but in previous years not so well. It may be the time of harvesting that was different.

Freeze your herbs for future use.  Drying and Freezing herbs can save you money on spices.  Herbs that are preserved fresh are more tasty than store bought spices.  Learn which herbs are best frozen.

I like to freeze my herbs in a cube of ice. This is another super easy and inexpensive method.

  • Wash your herbs and remove any damaged or diseased leaves and stems.
  • Fill ice tray approx. 1/2 full of water
  • Add as many herbs as will fit into the tray.
  • Freeze until solid
  • Remove from ice tray and place in a ziplock bag and place back in the freezer.
How to dry or freeze herbs to use in your recipes all year long.  Preserve your fresh herbs while they are producing.

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.

This Fresh Cucumber & Herb Dip is so refreshing and tasty.

If you enjoy saving money on your plants, you might like this post about splitting a lilac bush.

Please feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below.

XOXO,

Rachel

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.
Pin for Future Reference

Check out these great tips for growing Cilantro and this Yummy recipe from my friend Stacy

Loaded Garden Nachos with Cilantro and Spinach

Suzanne

Friday 13th of May 2022

Great idea on the frozen ice cube method.

Rachel

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!

rahrags@gmail.com

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

Catherine Sokolowski

Saturday 13th of June 2020

Thank you for the tips. I have an herb garden that is growing out of control!! I am going to your pesto recipe now!

rahrags@gmail.com

Sunday 14th of June 2020

Catherine, I'm so glad you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by. Rachhel

Richella J Parham

Thursday 11th of June 2020

This post is so helpful! My herb garden is doing well, but I've never had luck preserving any of my herbs. Now I know what to do!

Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!

rahrags@gmail.com

Thursday 11th of June 2020

Oh thanks so much. I'll glad you found this helpful. Rachel

deezie

Thursday 11th of June 2020

Good Morning Rachel I learned a lot today with your herb post. I didn't know that you can freeze herbs. I also didn't know the paper bag method. Your drying racks are really really nice. I love them. I love growing herbs but never can figure out how to use them all. This was a great post. Thanks Rachel deezie

rahrags@gmail.com

Thursday 11th of June 2020

Deezie, I'm so glad you found this helpful. Thanks so much for commenting. Rachel