Dried herbs - a great way to have herbs on hand for the winter

Monday, 2 October 2017
It's that time of year - be sure to begin harvesting the remainder of your fresh herbs for drying. I like to dry rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, and lavender. I'm trying to dry basil as well but it doesn't always work because it is delicate. This fall I am trying Thai basil to see if it holds up better in the drying process.

Drying herbs is really quite simple. First, harvest your herbs. Take care not to cut too many at once unless you are facing a frost. (You basically want small bouquets.) I harvest herbs and dry them in batches. That way, the air can circulate around the leaves and dry them thoroughly.

Next, rinse the herbs and blot them dry with a paper towel. Remove some of the leaves at the base of the stems so you have space at the end to tie them together. 

Tie the herbs in bundles, keeping like herbs together. (Different herbs dry at different speeds.) Once they are tied, hang the bouquets upside down on a drying rack. You can get creative here - my rack is something I picked up from a thrift shop. I just balance it on my cabinet's handle but I'd really like to hang it from the ceiling in the pantry.

Your herbs are ready to be crumbled or chopped into small pieces when they are dry to the touch (most take about 1 week to dry in the open air). I store them in small, air-tight jars. You can also wait to crumble them into a dish when you are ready to use them. Remember to rub dried herbs between your fingers to release the oil.

*Dried lavender blooms are lovely in small sachets for a delicates drawer or also paired with bath salt for a relaxing soak. (Just remember you'll have to clean out the tub to remove the debris.)

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