Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Drying Herbs the Old Fashioned Way

I like to air dry my herbs.  I think that they taste better (for the most part) than when you dry them in a dehydrator or use the microwave-and-paper-towels method. And here is how I do it:
1. Cut herbs in the morning, before their aromatic oils have time to volatilize (evaporate) and before they start flowering.
2. Knock dirt off then, gently and lightly wash and allow to them to air dry on a kitchen towel. Check for bugs that hitched a ride and remove them.
3.  Use common kitchen string (the kind you use to truss up a turkey) and tie them in small bunches (too big of a bunch can invite rot).
4.  I then take a brown paper grocery bag, and drop the herbs inside, looping the string through the handle so the herbs dangle inside the bag.  This cuts out light, catches any leaves that fall off and keeps the herbs cleaner.
5. Hang in a cool dark place by the string or the handle of the bag, like a closet or indoor storage area.  Do not hang herbs in an open room, over rafters, as you many have seen in historic homes, unless you are doing that just for show.
6. When they are dry, I strip them into a glass jar with lids.  I do not use small herb jars, as I usually have too much for that!
In a few weeks, your herbs will be dry!

Herbs I have done this successfully with: all types of basils, thyme, oregano, marjoram, mints, lavender, dill.  The one common herb this will not work with? Chives.  These need to be dried in a dehydrator.  They turn yellow if you attempt to air dry them.

Happy gardening!

1 comment:

Merryone said...

Thank you for this tip!