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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
My Herbs are Dry, Now What?
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.
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,
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.
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.
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. 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.