Garden Solutions for
Balconies, Patios, Terraces & Yards

Home About Us Examples Containers & Planters Furniture Wedding Presents Herbs BBQ's Contact Us
Herb Gardens
About Herbs
History
Dyring
Recipe's
 
 

Drying Herbs

If you have an herb garden, you'll find that home-dried herbs can be just as tasty as those bought at the store. However, proper handling is as important to the success of your herb harvest as good cultural practices.

Preparation

Most herbs are at their peak flavour just before flowering, so this is a good time to collect them for drying and storage. To be certain, check drying directions on specific herbs in a reliable reference book. Cut off the herbs early in the morning just after the dew has dried.
Cut annuals off at ground level, and perennials about one-third down the main stem, including the side branches.
Wash herbs, with the leaves on the stems, lightly in cold running water to remove any soil, dust, bugs, or other foreign material.
Drain thoroughly on absorbent towels or hang plants upside down in the sun until the water evaporates. Strip leaves off the stalks once plants have drained and dried, leaving only the top 6 inches. Remove all blossoms.

Natural or Air Drying

Herbs must be dried thoroughly before storing. Herbs with high moisture content, such as mint and basil, need rapid drying or they will mold. To retain some green leaf coloring, dry in the dark by hanging plants upside down in bunches in paper bags.
Hanging leaves down allows essential oils to flow from stems to leaves. Tie whole stems very tightly in small bunches.
Individual stems will shrink and fall. Hang in a dark, warm (21.1o-26.7oC), well-ventilated, ideally dust-free area. Leaves are ready when they feel dry and crumbly in about 1 to 2 weeks. Once you are sure the herbs are completely dry, place them in the airtight containers, and store them in a cool, dry place away from light. Never use paper or cardboard containers for storage as they will absorb the herbs' aromatic oils.

Freezing Herbs

Herbs also can be frozen. Harvest herbs according to recommendations. Wash them thoroughly and blanch them in boiling, unsalted water for 50 seconds
Cool them quickly in ice water and then package and freeze them. Washed fresh dill, chives, and basil can be frozen without blanching.