Frequenting the grocery store to buy fresh herbs can be exhausting, not to mention time-consuming. Your best option, then, is to buy them in large quantities and go dry and store them at home. This way, you can store a few weeks’ worth of fresh herbs and save yourself the stress of going to the supermarket too often. However, this method only works if you store the herbs well; otherwise, you may end up wasting them.
Drying herbs is a traditional preservation method for herbs that is still very helpful today. However, unlike before, you now have other ways to dry your herbs without following the long, sun-drying process. Drying your herbs the best way will help you minimize food waste while ensuring you have herbs on hand. Thus, if you are ready to start drying and storing your fresh herbs the right way, below is information you’ll find useful.
What Types of Herbs Can You Dry?
Before you buy Bitcoin with debit card to buy tons of fresh herbs, you need to first understand something. Can you dry any herbs; are they all good when dried or are some better when fresh?
Each type of herb has its level of water content, essential oil, and mold proclivity; these factors affect its drying capabilities. For instance, some herbs don’t require much pre-drying preparation, while some need a little more care.
The good news is that you can dry practically any herb; how you dry it is what matters. Also, if you are drying multiple herbs, you want to label each one as you dry; they look the same when dried. Also, many people feel the flavor of herbs changes when dried, but dried herbs tend to offer more volume. That said, below are the types of herbs that you can dry:
- Mint, among many others.
Herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano that have strong flavor are the best when dried. You can also dry French tarragon and perennial herbs like mints, lavender, and lemon balm. On the other hand, herbs like cilantro don’t do very well when dried.
The Best Herb Drying Methods
You are likely familiar with the traditional and oldest way of drying fresh herbs for kitchen. That is, hanging the herbs upside down in a dark, dry space, and letting it dry naturally.
You could try this if you don’t need the herbs immediately or if you just want to; it works excellently. However, there are other ways to dry your herbs such that they will be preserved until you are ready to use them.
Before You Dry
Before you dry your herbs using the methods we will soon mention, you need to first wash them. No matter how clean they appear, giving the herbs a good rinse is vital to ensure there are no bugs. Therefore,
- Place the herbs in a bowl, fill with cold water, and rinse the stems and leaves thoroughly. You can also rinse under the faucet, but it will be harder to tell when they are clean.
- Swish the herbs in the bowl gently and pour the water away; then, repeat the process until every dirt is gone.
- Once you are sure they are clean, pat gently using a towel or use a salad spinner to spin them dry. Ensure every drop of water is gone; this way, the herbs will dry faster and lower molding risks.
The Dehydration Method
You can dry your herbs using a food dehydrator, especially if you want them to dry faster. To dry herbs using a dehydrator:
- Spread the stems or leaves out on the tray and put the tray in the dehydrator;
- Set the dehydrator to the lowest or if it has a setting for herbs, even better;
- Leave the dehydrator to do its thing, but check every hour to remove completely dry herbs.
The Drying Rack Method
You can also use a hanging herbs drying rack to dry fresh herbs, or use a kitchen counter tray. The downside to this is that the herbs will take several days to dry. Below is how to dry herbs using a herbs drying rack:
- Get your rack and spread the herbs out on it such that one leaf is not touching another;
- Set the rack in a dry, cool, and dark place with good air circulation;
- Leave the herbs to dry; check on them every two days to ensure they are not molding and test for dryness.
The Hanging Method
Hanging is another way to dry your herbs; this takes longer, depending on the herb and how moist it is. You can hang-dry your herbs in the following steps:
- Bundle and tie the base of five to ten stems at a time using a string or twine. Ensure you leave one end of the string long enough for hanging – or you can just use a herb hanging rack;
- Tie the hanging end of the twine or string in a dry and cool place and away from sunlight;
- Check the bundles every few days to ensure they are drying and no leaf is molding.
The Paper Bag Method
Drying herbs with paper bags is an easy drying method, and it keeps the herbs protected. It will take about a week for the herbs to dry using this method, depending on humidity. Below are steps for using paper bags to dry herbs:
- Get paper bags and use a fork or any sharp object to make several holes in them for ventilation;
- Place three to five stems in a bag upside down so that the stem is poking out the bag opening. Share the remaining herbs into the rest of the bags; ensure there are not more than five stems in one;
- Use a rubber band to wrap the steps and the open end of the bag; then, hang the bag with the rubber band;
- Leave them for about a week before checking on them; they will crumble if they are dry. If the leaves don’t crumble, leave them for another three to five days.
Conclusion: Storing Your Dried Herb
Before you store your herbs, ensure they are completely dry; a crumble test will suffice. Then, you can store the herbs like that or use a herb grinder to crumble them into pieces, but remove the stems first.
You can store them using spice jars, decorative canisters, paper bags, mason jars, or any airtight container. Then, keep them in a dry, cool, and dark place; remember to label them to know which is which.