Monday, February 27, 2012

Preserving: Drying Herbs

My herbs are perennial, but I cut them back in fall and they are dormant in the winter. Here you can see my mint, basil, and thyme. I also have parsley, sage, and rosemary.

With softer herbs like parsley and basil, I remove the leaves and let them dry on cookie sheets before storing.

For woodier herbs like thyme, sage, and rosemary, I hang them to let the leaves dry on the stems. I use a rack in the new bathroom. It gets the least sunlight and has plenty of air circulation. When there's no moisture left in the leaves, it's time to store them for future use.

Here's my last thyme harvest. On the left are the dried leaves on their stems. On the right, the stripped stems, and in the middle the fruits of my labour, lots of dried thyme. To store my dried herbs, I reuse plastic containers from Crystal Light. I label and date the containers and store them in the new pantry you can see in the picture above.

Do you dry herbs? What are some of your techniques? -- Margy


  1. Anonymous10:18 AM

    time to "throw out" all these store bought containers of tired out herbs that I have and grow my own on the patio! I've still got plenty of room, as I'm currently only using half the patio! not sure about drying here...Florida is so humid! but fresh herbs...very appealing!

  2. When I dry herbs I fasten each bunch so that it hangs in a paper bag. Then if any bits should dry out and fall off they land inside the bag. I'll have to get some photos of it this year.

  3. Theanne - Herbs make great plants to grow in patio pots. You can also dry herbs in a food dehydrator or your oven on the lowest setting. Both of those should work in Florida.

    Crafty - I've heard of the bag trick. It would be good to see you document it in pictures. I'm just the lazy sort, and thyme and rosemary stick on the stems pretty good.


  4. WOW! I wish basil were a perennial here! I will be sowing seeds soon. :)

  5. I usually hang them to dry. I tried freezing them and felt they did not retain their flavors and it got messy.

  6. I bet they smell beautiful too. I cannot wait until I have the room to dry lots of herbs, very envious xxx

  7. EG Wow - I have grown two kinds. The typical basil you find fresh in the markets only lasts one year. This is called a lemon basil and it has a woody stem and grows like a weed.

    Stephanie - Good to know. I'll skip the freezing technique.

    Fran - When you barge is done you'll have lots of room. And a generous plot to grow things in.


  8. Margy, your herbs look wonderful. I stopped buying herbs a while back and dry as much as I can. I use the tie and hang method too. It's the best when drying a lot at one time. Use the dehydrator for the non woody herbs. I have parsley in mine right now!

    My extra hall pantry looks just like that one. It's moved all over the country with us and has been storage in several different rooms, but in this house it's a pantry. Sure have gotten our money out of it.
    Thanks for stopping by the blog. Have a great day.

  9. I must admit that I haven't dried any lately. I have two beds of herbs, as well as a hop bush!
    Lord knows what I could do with that!
    The oregano and rosemary grow back, or self-seed or something, but I've gotten lazy in my old age.
    You are an inspiration!
    Cheers from Cottage Country!


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy