Having access to dried herbs during the winter months is very handy, especially for those days when I’m in a hurry or feeling too lazy to run to the garden to pick fresh.
I cook with herbs on a daily basis; this is something I learned from Grandma and discovered that food just taste better. We eat a lot of Italian and Mexican dishes and the herb garden plays a huge roll in making those dishes take great.
Air drying herbs is a simple process and when temperatures are warm it doesn’t take as long. Herbs could also be dried in a dehydrator; I’ve heard that is also a quick process.
Begin with a healthy plant that is not in bloom. If the plant is blooming you can still harvest you just need to make sure you remove the blooms and any expired greenery.
Always harvest in the early morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are below 80 degrees because you won’t have to deal with the stems wilting.
We’re starting with a parsley bush. I cut this back about a week ago and I’m amazed at how quickly it grew back.
Once you have a nice bouquet harvested, gather the stems and wash in cold water. I do this outdoors using a garden hose, then I sort through each stem to make sure there’s not any bugs; sometimes I have to wash a couple times.
Bundle it up!
Find a clean place indoors to hang for drying. This could be on a dry rack or somewhere in your kitchen pantry. I’ve also seen herbs air dry in garden sheds.
I hang mine in our breezeway because it’s free from animal and human traffic.
Allow about a week maybe two for the herbs to completely dry out.
Prepping Dried Herbs for Storage
Once the plastic bag is full use a rolling pin to break up the leaves or just crunch the bag by hand. Crunching is a faster process and you don’t risk putting a hole in the bag.
The final step is to store in jar.
This air drying process can be used with all types of herbs and if you jazz up the jar they can make neat gifts for special friends who enjoy cooking.