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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: NescoÂ® American HarvestÂ® SnackmasterÂ® Encoreâ¢ Dehydrator and Jerky Maker
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