Drying Herbs & Gift Idea

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I've used this method to dry herbs from my gardens for years. It works well for "dry" types of herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano - not the oily types like lemon balm or mint. (At least not for me - I freeze those or just use them when they're fresh.)
Step 1
Step 1: Gather your herbs from your garden. Try to cut them at the base of the stems and it will be easier later on. Try not to do a Rapunzel. Bring some scrap paper and a pen outside with you so you can note down what you've picked (by the time you're done, you may not remember which bundle is which).

Step 2

Step 2: Boil some water and throw each batch into it for a few seconds. Remove with tongs and lay across some racks - the kind you use to cool cookies on (you always cool them before eating, right??). I'm not sure what this step is for since it's really a brief boil, but I keep doing it... at the least it probably kills any bugs that have hitchiked a ride in & makes the kitchen smell yummy.

Step 3


Step 3: Let them sit in your kitchen overnight to dry off. If they're still wet, wait another day.






Step 4


Step 4: Gather them up by the stems. They'll seem dry & brittle now, but still need some time to fully get rid of all the moisture. You don't want to pack them up airtight at this point or you'll end up with a bunch of mold (= not very good for enhancing your food.)





Step 5


Step 5: Place these little bundles stem-side-up into paper bags and clip with a clotheshanger or gather with a rubber band. Make sure you label the clothespins or each bag. Here I've shown my herbs in lunch bags. I've also used larger grocery bags and that works fine.

Place these aside for month or so in a place that's cool and dry. You can rest them on a shelf or hang them by the clips. (I once forgot about these hanging from my basement ceiling and finally unpacked them the following spring!)

Gift packed herbsOnto the gift idea.... When you're done, you'll have lots of herbs - you can pack some up and give them away! Pack them up in a cute container with label, add your favorite recipe & you're done. Or, you can make special spice mixes - in a lot of Paul Prudhomme's recipes that I've used, there's dozens of spices blended together and honestly, it can be daunting if you don't have all of these in your house all the time - how about a spice mix and cookbook as a gift?





These cute white jars were a find one year at a dollar store. If you have leftover glass canning jars, Ball makes these plastic lids that screw on and are real convenient - I use them in my house to store everything from the pantry to the craft room.



I'd love to hear about anyone else's experience drying herbs, or if you have any tips.

7 comments:

  1. I don't know if you will have time to answer, but do you have any idea if this works for cilantro? Our climate is too cold to grow it, and I am was hoping to dry some that I buy at the grocery store. Thanks for this great tute!

    mel

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  2. Hi there! I’m no expert…but… this is what I know –
    If the leaves are leafy like thyme and not oily, then the way I dry them should work. Oily leaves are something like lemon balm.
    Thanks for reading my blog!

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  3. Thanks for the tip - can't wait to plant my herbs this year. Some of the ones from last year are coming up already.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I just got some lavender, now I can't wait for it to bloom.

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  5. I wish I could grow lavender!! My thyme, lemon balm & oregano have come up so far. There's lots of green in my garden right now, but I have to figure out what they are.

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  6. Great tips! I need to make potpourri for my sachets!
    Tracy

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  7. You can smell the herbs to tell what they are.
    Especially the lemon balm mint.
    Catnip mint is fun to grow,too.
    It makes great teas-fresh or dried.
    Mints can be rooted in water and planted so you can have more.
    I make dryer sachets(no chemicals).
    http://Whatshername.Etsy.com

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