How to Dry Herbs

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How to Dry Herbs

How to Dry Herbs

Drying your summer herbs at home is a simple and effective way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value for use throughout the winter months. The first step is to harvest the herbs at the right time, ideally in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun becomes too intense. This is when the essential oils in the herbs are at their peak. Use clean, sharp scissors or garden shears to cut the stems, and make sure to leave approximately 75% of the plant intact so it can continue to grow.  

Once harvested, gently rinse the herbs under cool water to remove any dirt or insects. Shake off the excess water and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. There are several methods you can use to dry herbs, but air drying is one of the simplest and most effective. Gather the herbs into small bundles, about 4-6 stems each, and secure them with a rubber band or string. Hang the bundles upside down in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. A kitchen or pantry works well for this. It typically takes about 1-2 weeks for the herbs to dry completely. They are ready when the leaves crumble easily between your fingers.

If you are short on time or space, you can also use an oven or a food dehydrator. My preferred method is oven drying, spread the herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in an oven set to the lowest temperature (usually around 100-110°F ). For me, my oven has a “Keep warm” setting that is around 100°F. Leave the oven door slightly open to allow moisture to escape, and check the herbs every 30 minutes until they are dry. This typically takes around 2 hours but for thicker leaves and stems this process could take up to 6 hours. Once dried, store the herbs in airtight containers, away from light and heat, to maintain their potency. Properly dried and stored herbs can last for up to a year, ready to add freshness and flavor to your culinary creations. 


Steps to Dry Herbs:
  • Harvest herbs in the early morning.
  • Thoroughly wash and towel dry all herbs.
  • Trim any brown or discolored leaves.
  • Dry in the oven on the lowest setting for 2-6 hours.

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