Herbs are garden favorites and are used for many culinary and medicinal purposes. When you have a stock of your own dried herbs on hand cooking, and herbal preparations become easier. These three easy ways to dry herbs will get you started on preserving your herb harvest.
I have an old radiant heat dehydrator that I love. I purchased it used, many years ago, from a garage sale. There is absolutely nothing fancy about it. In fact, his dehydrator is so old that it does not even have a way to control the temperature.
It’s perfect for drying herbs because it doesn’t have a motor, so it’s quiet, and I can set and forget about it for 24 hours. When I return, the radiant heat has done its job, and the herbs are dry.
This week I have peppermint, spearmint, lemon verbena, and pineapple sage ready for their first harvest. I am dehydrating herbs like a maniac!
Once you have dried the herbs, they will last for at least a year when placed in airtight containers away from moisture, and light. Have you tried your hand at dehydrating herbs? Let’s find the process that is right for you!
3 Easy Ways to Dry Herbs
Use a Dehydrator
As discussed, you can use a dehydrator. Place your herbs on clean dehydrator trays. If you have a current model dehydrator with a blowing fan, dry the herbs at 125 degrees for 3 to 6 hours. Stir and consolidate dried items if necessary.
It’s best to keep dried herbs as whole leaves until you are ready to use them. Keeping them whole protects their volatile oils.
Use Your Oven
You can use your oven. Place your herbs in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Set your oven temperature at 180 to 200 degrees and put the cookie sheet inside. Prop the door open to let the moisture escape.
Watch your herbs continually; this is not a project that you can walk away from and still have success! Stir the drying leaves if needed and remove from the oven when they are crisp. Be careful that you do not burn them.
Hang them to dry
You can just let nature take its course. Air drying is another popular ways to dry herbs. Gather 8 to 12 stems in a bunch and tie the ends together with a string or rubber band.
Use a half opened paperclip as a hook and hang each bunch upside down in a warm (70-80 F), dry area making sure your herbs are out of direct sunlight. The herbs should be dry in 2 to 4 weeks.
Some people like to place brown paper sandwich bags around the outside of the bunches to prevent dried herbs from dropping on the ground. Be sure to cut a few air holes in the sides of the bag if you are using this method. When thoroughly dry, strip the leaves from the stems and store as above.
Use these dried herbs for your herbal tea blends, herbal medicine, or in cooking.