I Would Like To Dry Some Herbs -- Suggestions on How To??

lizbeth_paJuly 11, 2010

I would like to dry a lot of my herbs this yr for my own use, and also to give as gifts. I need some good suggestions as to how to go about doing it. Thanks! Btw, I don't own a dehydrator but would like to. But I don't think a dehydrator is always the best way to go.

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

A dehydrator is the best way to go for some items unless you live somewhere hot & dry like Texas. Some items for the dehydrator include parsley, basil, chives, leeks, and chili peppers.

Other than that, laying to dry on screens works the best for me. I put paper toweling down on the screens (to keep screens clean and contaminants down) and lay the herbs on that. Works great. I find hanging in bunches to not always work the best in my climate. If the bunch is too large or the humidity is too high, there can be mold or a slowness to dry completely in the center of the bundle.

I've given herbs as gifts. Dry herbs, get some simple spice jars, create & print your own labels for a wonderful and thoughtful gift!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:57PM
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I'm lucky to live in a climate where I can have fresh herbs all year round, so I rarely dry them. But when I do, I simply spread them over a paper-towel-covered cake cooler and leave them on my dining table - which is near my back door, so it gets a good air-flow. It can take several days for some herbs to dry to crispy stage, so for the first couple of days I change the paper-towelling, which in the early stages can get very moist.

You can also dry your herbs in the oven. Heat the oven to lowest possible temperature, spread the herbs onto a baking tray in a thin layer, and leave in the oven until the herbs are crispy-dry. It is important to leave the door of the oven ajar throughout (I use a thick oven-mitt to prevent the door closing), and to check the herbs and given them a stir, from time to time.

Then there's the microwave oven. This can take a bit of practice. Place some paper-towelling (3-4 thicknesses) onto a suitable flat dish, cover it with herbs (piled up is OK), then zap for about 1 minute on HIGH. Check the herbs, and stir them around. Change paper towel if very wet. Repeat, reducing the time gradually between checking, until the herbs are nice and crispy-dry. Once they're out of the microwave, stir them around while the excess steam evaporates, to help them cool quickly. When quite cold and still crispy, bottle and seal (and date!).

OR you can tie your herbs into small bundles and hang them in a cool, well-ventilated, dry place. OR you can put your bunches/herbs into a brown paper bag and hang the bag in a cool (etc) place. Pierce the bag in several places to make small holes for air-flow. This is a good way of keeping both dust and bugs off your drying herbs, and the bag prevents any bits and pieces dropping to the floor.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 3:13AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the great suggestions you guys! I will get busy this summer drying all my herbs, which are really doing great, especially since we got some good rains since Saturday after our terrible triple digit heat, along w/ 2 wks of drought.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 9:22AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Be aware also that some herbs just don't taste very good dried. Personally I would never bother with dried chives, parsley or basil. I regard them as seasonal treats, like strawberries, and just do without if I can't have them fresh. The woodier herbs with plenty of essential oils dry well and in fact I would say some taste better dried. These include rosemary, bay, thyme, lavender and sage. I just leave mine on the kitchen counter for a few days.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:02PM
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