Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Drying herbs
I touched on mint yesterday as a deer deterrent. I have been harvesting the leaves and drying them.
It’s herb mania right now. I also have some ‘Hot & Spicy’ oregano, regular oregano, and plenty of dill. (The dill I dry on a paper towel)
Drying your own herbs is not only a great way to preserve your harvest but to get the best quality for a cheap price. There are several drying methods. The one I use is a dehydrator I picked up years ago at a garage sale!
I use it to dry all kinds of herbs including tarragon, parsley and rosemary. I also dry tomatoes and flowers too. To prevent mold, don’t pack it too full, you want plenty of air movement, this also helps them dry quicker.
For the best results, cut your herbs just before they flower, that’s when their essential oils are at their peak. Cut them in the morning after the dew is gone on a day that’s going to be hot and dry. I don’t wash my homegrown herbs unless they’re dirty.
A cheap and easy way to dry long-stemmed herbs like rosemary and spearmint is to bunch them up. Tie string around the stems of your bunch about 2 inches down. Cut the bottom out of a paper bag, poke ventilation holes in it and place your herb bunch in the bag. Hang upside down in a sunless area with low humidity.
I don’t have a low humidity sunless area… so, it’s the dehydrator! I spray a little cooking oil on the trays when drying tomatoes.
I then put them in baggies and freeze them. They’re awesome on salads in the winter! It’s amazing how much flavor they have! Here’s a quick overview of different methods of drying herbs from Purdue University, including using the microwave.
Some fresh herbs don’t dry well. They are chives, parsley, chervil and sweet basil. You can freeze these in water. Just harvest the leaves, chop them, place them in ice cube trays and fill the trays with water. Once frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and store them in freezer bags in the fridge. They’ll work well in soups and stews!
Fantastic Basil cream sauce!
- 1 c. fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 oz. goat cheese
- 1/2 c. plain yogurt (not greek)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
Mince the basil and garlic and mix with goat cheese, yogurt and olive oil in a blender or processor until smooth. Put on salads or anything else that you can think of!