Drying Herbs

May 19, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

When I have excess fresh herbs from my garden, I like to dry them and save them for the winter.  Harvesting is the first step in the process, much time can be saved by using appropriate techniques.  The best time to harvest most herbs is when the herbs have long stems with lots of large developed leaves on them.  The longer the stem, generally the easier it is to remove the leaves from the stem once dried.  It is important to harvest before the main stem starts growing smaller stems; the extra stems are harder to remove.  Remove distressed leaves while harvesting to save work later.

As soon as possible after harvesting, rinse the herbs under running cold water.  A quick pre-soak will clean up more dusty herbs very nicely.  To be extra green, save the wash water to use for irrigating later.  Give your herbs a good shake and then arrange them in a colander, or drying rack with lots of room for air flow.  In a few hours when your herbs are completely free of the rinse water, arrange them into bundles and tie them with string or ribbons. As the herbs dry you may have to retie them to keep the bundle together.  Hang these bundles in a cool dry dust-free place for a few days or weeks until the leaves are dry and fall off easily.

To remove the leaves,  hold the herbs over a large cookie sheet or baking dish with a lip.  Grab the stem of the herb with one hand and with the other, pinch the stem and slide your fingers down to the other end.  The leaves should fall right off.  As you work, pick out any stems that make it into the cookie sheet.  When you are finished, put the leaves in a jar and label it.  These little herb jars make great gifts.

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Entry filed under: Garden, Recipes. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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