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The Best Way to Dry Herbs
This article, The Best Way to Dry Herbs, will cover why you should dry your own herbs and how to dry them.
When you buy seasonings and herbs in the grocery store, you have no idea how long they’ve been sitting there before they get to your shopping cart. Especially if you are looking for those cheap herbs you can get at places like The Dollar Store.
Let’s face it who wants to spend $15 for a 6 1/2 ounce jar of organic oregano when you can grow your own. Hey, if you want to buy it go ahead. I do after all make a commission if you buy this lovely bottle of $15 organic oregano. That will be 15 cents in my pocket.
I won’t stop you, but if it were me, I would just grow and dry it myself. I mean anyone can grow oregano. I am serious. It takes over your garden if you don’t confine it. So it makes a great herb to grow in a pot, even if you don’t have a garden. Most other herbs are equally easy to grow and do not require a lot of space.
When you dry your own herbs, you can be sure they are fresh, vibrant, free of chemicals or residues, and of the highest quality.
We have already established you will be saving a ton of money.
And most herbs are very easy to grow, and you can do so in a small space.
Reasons to grow your own herbs:
- You know you are getting clean, fresh, vibrant, high-quality herbs.
- They will save you a ton of money
- They are very easy to grow even in small spaces.
- They make wonderful gifts.
OK, so now you know why you should dry your herbs. Now let’s look at the best way to dry them.
How to dry herbs
Once I get my new house and have room, I want to start drying my herbs this way. It is beautiful and fills the room with a wonderful aroma.
Basically, you cut your herbs, wash them, and then tie the stems together. I read that using a rubber band works well, so when the stems shrink from drying, the rubber band contracts with it. Then hang them upside down in a cool and dry area. They will take approximately 1 week to completely dry. Of course, this depends on the temperature and how much humidity is in the air.
This is how I dry my herbs. I have an inexpensive model like this one. It works just fine. I can’t do large batches, but I manage OK with it.
Cut and wash your herbs. Use a towel and blot any excess water. Then lay your herbs thinly on the trays. This can take anywhere from an hour to several hours depending on the type of herb.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your microwave for super-fast drying.
Cut and wash your herbs (you’re getting the idea right?) then place them between two flour sack towels or paper towels. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Continue in intervals of 30 seconds until they are dry.
Cut, wash, and blot off excess moisture, and then place on a cookie sheet. Using parchment paper or a silicone mat makes it much easier to transfer and clean up all the little dry herb flecks. Flecks, that sounds funny when you say it a few times. Sorry, I digress.
Anyways, place in your oven and turn your temp as low as it goes. My lowest setting is 170 degrees. You can either leave the door ajar or open it a few times to allow the moisture to escape. “Bake/dry” your herbs for approximately 30 minutes. If they are not dry yet, keep them going for another 10 minutes or until dry.
OK, I do not have an Airfryer. I know, I know. The kitchen gadget queen of the south does not have an air-fryer. Look, friend, don’t judge me too harshly. I am waiting to move into the new homestead where I might actually have a closet to put it in. That is a story for another day. So, back to the airfryer.
It looks like they have a dehydrator option, so it seems to me this is yet another lovely option to dry those herbs.
Questions and Answers:
- Question #1 How do you know when the herbs are dry enough?
Well, just like the herbs you buy in the store, you want them to be brittle and crumbly. If they don’t crush between your fingers easily, they are probably not dry enough. You want to make sure they are dry, dry, dry.
Nothing worse than moldy herbs.
- Question #2 What kinds of herbs can be dried.
Any kind of herb. If you buy it in the store, it can be dried.
- Question #3 How do I store them?
I prefer glass to plastic when storing anything. This set is a one-time purchase since you just continue to refill the same jars. Remember, once you have the jars, you won’t have to spend any more money, because you are growing and drying your own. Another option is to save the spice jars that you have already.
- Question #4 How long are they good for once they have been dried?
Herbs typically last between 1 and 3 years. The older the herbs, the less potent the flavor and nutrients. I like to replace all my herbs each summer or fall once they grow big enough to start cutting and drying. I prepare enough to last the entire winter.
You can even make herbal blends. Here is a great recipe for Italian seasoning.
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I hope I encouraged you to try drying your herbs. It is just one way to become less reliant, and they make wonderful gifts as well.