March 1, 2013

How To Dry Herbs Two Simple Ways

Even though it's February here in the upper south and outside temps are in the 30's, I have herbs in my garden that could be harvested and used fresh in cooking or dried for use later.

I want to show you two easy ways to dry those herbs.

herbs hanging to dry
No special tools are needed to dry herbs inside on a simple hanger. A coat hanger works great and you can hang them anywhere there is  a warm dry place, I sometimes clip small bunches of herbs with a clothes pin to a wire shelf near my kitchen window. The picture here is a coat hanger that holds at least 3 bunches hanging in the laundry room. I have oregano, rosemary and sage on this hanger. An attic in summer is a terrific place for this but might be too cold in winter. I tied my herbs with twine and used clothes pins to hold them to the hanger. They should be dry in about a week. Then I just strip the leaves off, toss the stems into the compost and store them in jars or zip top bags.

The other method I use when I have lots of herbs ready to dry involves my electric food dryer. These are available on line and come in several price ranges. Mine is made by Nesco American Harvest and was fairly inexpensive. It works well for what I need to do. The first step of course is to harvest the herbs,. Next spread them out  (stems and al) on one of the racks that come with the dryer, stack up the shelves and put the top on. Herbs dry best on the low setting (95°- 100°).  I check them daily and rearrange the order of shelves top to bottom if needed. In a very few days, sometimes 24 hours, the herbs are ready to store as in the previous method. Now what could be simpler than that? If you ever dry and cook with your own herbs, You will never be happy with store bought herbs again!
dried oregano ready store

food dryer



food dryer temp control


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