Do you love using herbs when you cook? I do – especially basil and oregano.
I grow basil, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme in my garden. I do enjoy using fresh herbs when they are in season when I cook, but in the winter, I generally use dried herbs.
Instead of buying dried herbs at the grocery store – I make my own. Drying your own herbs is very simple to do and make great gifts.
Herbs are best when they are air-dried – which is the method that retains their flavor best. There are other methods including microwaving, oven drying or using a dehydrator, which can be helpful if you live in a humid climate. Today, we will cover how to air-dry herbs.
Here is how to do it:
1. Basil, dill, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme are some of my favorite herbs to dry. Pick your herbs just before they flower for best flavor.
2. Harvest your herbs in the morning and wash them with water and dry them with a dish towel and/or paper towels. Pick out any discolored leaves.
3. Gather your herbs into small bundles (this is especially important for basil, which as lots of moisture in its leaves).
4. Tie your herbs with twine or cotton string (it helps to wrap the string around each bundle a few times to keep them from falling out as they dry).
5. To dry your herbs, you need to hang your herb bundles indoors, out of the sun in an area with good air circulation – I used our garage. You can hang them from a clothes rack that you use for drying your clothes, or you can tie them from almost anything. Coat hangers work well too! *You can also lay herbs on paper towels and place by a de-humidifier to dry.
6. To protect your herbs from dust, you can place paper lunch bags over each bundle – to do this make a hole in the bottom of each lunch bag and thread the cotton string through it before attaching the string to whatever you are hanging your herbs from. It is okay if the herbs stick out the bottom of the bag – it’s the top which need protection from dust.
7. Depending on where you live, drying herbs can take as little as a week in a dry climate up to 4 weeks in more humid climates.
I hope you are tempted to grow and dry your own herbs. Stay tuned for “Part 2″ next Tuesday!
*Learn how I planted my herb container here.