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August 10, 2015

How to Dry Fresh Garden Herbs

How to dry fresh garden herbs


My garden every year can be a series of near disasters. I love gardening, but there is a lot of work that goes into beautiful looking vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Last year I lost all my tomatoes to blight. I almost cried after spending months babying my heirlooms and then within days they were completely gone. This year has been a much better year. It hasn't been without its near disasters, but I know now that it takes near obsession for a great and abundant garden. I have also accepted the fact that my neighbors are probably wondering about my mental sanity as I take a PH meter around my garden and talk to my plants about their needs for the day. I hate to admit that these oddities are things that I do on a daily basis, but it is what it is, my plants love a good pep talk and I like giving one. Come August there is nothing better than looking outside and seeing all the fruits of your labor come to fruition.

how to dry fresh garden rosemary

Now comes the part of what to do with all the herbs, fruits, and vegetables that come from your stellar garden. The easy answer to that is that you dry, preserve, and dehydrate. Today is the first in a series of posts on how to enjoy the bounty of your garden year round. First up is drying fresh garden herbs.

If your anything like me you plant every herb you can find at the nursery and if you have a great garden year you are swimming in herbs come August. Now herbs love to be cut. I'm not talking a little here or there, I'm taking you can cut thyme, oregano, and rosemary almost back to the ground and they will grow up twice as big. So don't be dainty with the scissors, go for it, any of the long leggy growths that are pouring over the side need to be cut back.

how to dry fresh herbs

Basil, sage, parsley, dill, and cilantro also love to be cut back. However, they are preserved and stored slightly differently. I only dry dill seed and use parsley, cilantro, and basil fresh. The flavor really does not dry adequately on these herbs. Oregano, thyme, and rosemary dry very well and taste great dried. The following is the method I use to dry fresh herbs for storage.

  • Cut back fresh rosemary, oregano, or thyme. You want to cut long stems that have adequate growth and stem length to be bundled. I normally do one huge cutback in late August where I cut my herbs almost down to the ground and then dry them. 
  • Wash the herbs making sure to remove all dirt and dead or discolored leaves. Strip bottom leaves off stems so there is an inch or two of bare stem at the bottom of each herb bunch. 
  • Allow the herbs to completely dry before placing in bag. Placing wet herbs in bags will result in moldy dried herbs.
  • Bunch herbs into groups of 6-8 stems and tie together with kitchen twine. Take a lunch size brown paper bag and cut smalls holes in it for ventilation. Place herbs in bag with stems facing out of the top. 
  • Tie twine around top of bag (and herbs stems), make a knot in order that the bag stays put and tie the herbs/bags upside down in a cool dry place for one to two weeks, or until leaves have completely dried out.

Dried Herbs


Recipe Type: Spice
Summary:
An easy way to dry fresh herbs from your garden to enjoy year round.
Preparation Time: 0h, 15m

2 comments:

  1. I have only tried drying thyme and rosemary before...but never thought of using brown bags. Thanks for sharing all the tips, Ann.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The brown bags are nice since they keep off the dust from the herbs. If you have a non-dusty area to hang the herbs it's not as big of a deal, but my kitchen seems to attract dust :)

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