If you grow herbs in your garden, you are probably experiencing an overload by now. Take advantage of the abundance and dry some for year-round use. Growing and drying your own herbs is incredibly cost effective. A .6-ounce jar of organic dried basil is nearly $5 at the grocery store!
For the best taste and texture, it’s recommended to dry herbs earlier in the season, before they bloom and start going to seed. But for most of us, we aren’t in the harvest/drying mindset until later in the growing season.
So, if you haven’t dried any herbs yet, don’t worry! Now is as good a time as ever to stock your pantry.
1. Harvest in the Morning
Harvest herbs in the morning, after the dew has dried. Clip the younger, more tender growth from the plants.
Wash herbs after harvesting. Soak in cold water briefly to perk them up and clean off any dirt/insects. Pat them dry with a lint-free towel, but stay mindful not to bruise/damage the herbs when doing so. Discard any damaged or bug-eaten areas.
3. Using a Dehydrator
If using a food dehydrator to dry, you’ll want to dry herbs on the lowest temperature the dehydrator will go, ideally 95 to 110 degrees F.
Dry in a single layer. Drying time varies by location and humidity in the air but will take several hours. Check occasionally to determine when done.
Put like-sized leaves/cuttings together since they will dry faster, and it’ll be easy to remove as they dry, while leaving the larger ones to continue drying.
4. Air Drying
If air drying, create small bundles of herbs of like-kind to hang upside down. Hang out of direct sunlight. This method of drying will take several days. A location with airflow is ideal.
5. Dry Completely
Dry completely until the leaves easily crumble and stems easily snap. Store in airtight containers/jars out of direct sunlight.