The correct way to preserve these herbs

barb_roselover_inSeptember 18, 2013

I have basil, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. I assume that you cut and dry them,and wash them before drying. Do most of you hang them to dry or how? Thanks for any help. Also, how do I grind them up and store them? Barb

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CA Kate

First off... I don't think basil tastes like anything once its dried, so I freeze it.

The rest you wash, rinse, and dry, which you can dry by:
* hanging in loose bunches;
* in a dedicated dryer under lowest heat;
* or, if you're in California, you can just leave them lay out on the counter for a day.

With the exception of Rosemary, I prefer to leave the dried herbs whole and stored in glass jars to be crushed just before using. I have an herb-dedicated coffee grinder that will make short work of grinding Rosemary or any other herb or spice.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:45PM
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And just to confuse you with an alternative take - I don't wash them, I dry them by placing on a broad shelf in my kitchen and I don't grind them either. I put whole sprigs in dishes and remove after cooking. And westelle is right about basil - it isn't worth drying. I use it when I can have it fresh and don't use it when I can't. It's a taste of Summer to me, we enjoy the season and then move on to Winter flavours.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:45AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Agree with Flora: Never grind or even crush or rub those herbs. Keep them as whole as possible for best aroma and flavor.

All I do is just separate and throw the thick woody parts.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:58AM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I use fresh rosemary year round since my plants come in the house for the winter. I harvest thyme outside for many months and find that I need a very small supply of dried herb.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:36PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I don't wash my herbs before drying. I don't use chemicals in my gardens and don't water the herbs (except in extreme conditions) so dirt is not a problem either.

For herbs that are thick or need quick drying, I use a food dehydrator. For most culinary herbs, I air dry on screens. And yes, leave whole until you wish to use. Crumble then.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 8:12PM
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I got the Nesco Encore Dehydrator for my birthday this year. I LOVE it. It dries my garden herbs in a very short amount of time.

I rinse my herbs first and then spin them dry in a salad spinner. Place them on the dehydrator tray set at 125 degrees (supposed to be 95 degrees but I use the higher degree for time expedience and have not seen any problems so far).

My oregano does especially well. Chives lost all of their flavor - even at the lower setting.

Before the dehydrator I hung my herbs in my china closet to dry - worked well but took a long time.

PS. Made beef jerky too - fabulous!

Here is a link that might be useful: Nesco® American Harvest® Snackmaster® Encore⢠Dehydrator and Jerky Maker

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Thanks for all the tips. I bought several herb plants and have them under lights in my garage. It is my understanding that the basil will probably not do well, but I may try to bring it into my sewing room that has windows all the way around. I understand that some of these herbs have a natural length of life and may not be productive during the winte months. I am beginning to feel the dill is not going to do well. I just wanted a little bit to add flavor to my cooking. Barb

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 5:09PM
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