How to air dry and store herbs part 2

Three weeks after cutting and preparing my herbs for storing, they are dried! And by dry, you want them to be crackle dry. They may have been ready at two weeks, but I decided to give them one more for good measure. So now what? dsc_0105

Remove leaves from herb stems
This can be tedious, especially with thyme. I recommend putting on some music or a podcast, I listened to the latest episode of Encyclopedia Botanica podcast. What you need:

  • A big bowl – remove the leaves over the bowl so that you don’t lose any.dsc_0110
  • Use your hands to remove the leaves – try to be patient so that you keep the leaves intact.dsc_0113
  • Music or a podcast (I promise it doesn’t take that much time, but it will make the experience more enjoyable).

Store leaves in a container
You will need an airtight container to store the herbs, preferably glass. I used mason jars. If you are really on top of it, you can use old, cleaned spice and herb jars. dsc_0116

Label and date
After filling the containers with herbs. Be sure to label the container with the herb name and date.

Tie it with a bow
Consider gifting these dried herbs this holiday season (and don’t forget to save some for yourself). Use natural twine or a colorful ribbon to wrap the container! dsc_0119

A few notes

  • Dried herbs will store for up to eighteen months, one year is ideal.
  • I tried to air dry sage. It actually dried beautifully, but it smelt a little funky. It actually didn’t smell quite right when I cut it. Note to self: be sure to cut herbs before they have bloomed or become water logged. If they aren’t good fresh, they won’t be good dried.
  • Drying herbs is fun, resourceful, and straightforward. I plan to grow more fresh herbs with the intention of drying them for storing and gifting next winter.

Add a little zest to the holidays! Cheers!

 

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How to air dry herbs part 1

I still have fresh herbs in my yard and I don’t want them to go to waste. I have decided to dry them so I can use them all winter long. With the holidays right around the corner, I’m also hoping to gift a few jars!

This post part 1 is about preparing the herbs to be dried. I am currently waiting for the herbs to dry. As soon as the herbs have been dried, stay tuned for post part 2 to find out how they turned out and how to store the herbs.dsc_0105

The easiest method for drying herbs is to air dry. This is most effective for herbs that don’t have a lot of moisture, like oregano, thyme, and rosemary. I do have extra sage, however it has higher moisture content. I am still going to try to air dry the sage and will let you know how it turns out in post part 2.

Steps to air dry herbs

  1. Harvest the herbs before they flower. I have to admit, a few have started to flower, but I am still going to use them. This means they are not at their peak flavor, but still do the job. Only use healthy branches.dsc_0099
  2. Dry and clean the herb branches. Shake off the insects and pat dry with paper towel. I laid the herbs out on brown paper bags to dry overnight.
  3. Bundle and tie a few stems together. Make sure there is enough space for some air circulation. dsc_0096
  4. Punch holes in paper bags so that air can circulate through the bags.
  5. Put the herb bundles in the paper bags. Place a bundle or two upside down in each bag. Gather the ends of the bag around the bundle(s) and tie it closed, I used a rubber band. dsc_0097
  6. Keep the bags in a warm, airy room. I am keeping the bags in the basement, which is dry and about 60 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Check on the herbs in two weeks. Keep in the bags until the herbs are dried.

Go cut those herbs before the winter hits hard. Stay tuned in early December for how to store the herbs and prepare them for gifting.