I thought I would do a quick and simple post on how to dry herbs.
Harvesting herbs can happen in small batches all summer. You don’t need to wait until you have a ton to dry. I prefer to do smaller batches at a time. Just like canning or freezing all the wonderful fresh veggies, do a little at a time when you have some extra.
Once you have got your herbs planted, let them get to a point of having more than 3 sets of leaves on them and then cut them down to start getting your herbs fuller and producing the maximum amount.
I did a post on How to Cut Herbs here. The post is super simple and easy to understand. I have no desire whatsoever to get into technical jargon of the world of agriculture and bog you down with a gazillion details. I figure if I can show you the easiest way to do things like this, you are more likely to do it and enjoy it!
Remember, herbs are the way we earn our income. It is our business. So, over the years we have tried almost every method out there when it comes to drying herbs.
- 100% natural
That is our criteria.
This is my happy Applemint that needs a second harvest.
I snipped them all down
While you are at, weed as much as you can and then snip off any bad lower leaves you see on your plants.
Now it’s time to take them inside, wash the ones that need to be cleaned and go through each leaf to make sure there are no bad ones in the mix.
This is almost embarrassingly easy. So, don’t blink because you will miss the entire method! LOL
We simply arrange the cut herbs on a baking sheet or tray. You don’t want thick bunches of them. Just a nice even layer.
Now here is the hard part. Take the tray and walk out to your car/truck and place the tray on your dashboard.
Yup, that’s it! If you have two – three hot sunny days in a row, your herbs will be completely dried. Not too mention, your car will smell amazing!
If you have to use your vehicle and the herbs aren’t dry yet, put the trays on the backseat. When you get home put back on the dash.
Now let Mother nature do the drying!
Okay, all dried!
Remove leaves from the stems.You can now store the dried herbs as they are or you can crush them and then store them. You can use whatever airtight container you want. And don’t forget to label your container.
For crushing herbs, we found that an old time crank handle sifter works best.
It takes time but, we find this the best method for a finely crushed herb.
And fresh herbs dried naturally like this will last well over a year. After a year, they will still be fine except the flavor starts to diminish.
That’s it! Super easy!!
Here are some methods we have tried. These are my opinions.
Using the oven.
This method took a lot longer than we expected and it wasn’t cost effective for the amount we need to dry. Not too mention it heated up the house and that is costing us more in A/C.
Once again, it isn’t cost effective for the amount we do. And the microwave can cause moisture and that can lead to mold.
Took WAY to long and could not dry as much as we needed at one time. And of course electrical, therefore not cost effective.
This is an effective way to dry herbs and no out of pocket cost. I do a little of this but, due to the amount we use and dry, I just don’t have the space to hang that much. Once your herbs are completely dry, take them down. you don’t want dust to settle on them.
Tying a Bunch Together in a Paper Bag
I personally don’t recommend this method for a couple of reasons. First, you need a good air flow and you can’t get that in a bag. Second, if the herbs are wet you risk the chance of them molding. And third, any little bugs that may still be on the plant will stay in that bag. Bleck!
Like I said earlier, herbs are our business. We need quality and quantity at the same time. If you only dry a little bit for yourself, then many of the above methods will generally work.