How I Dry Fresh Herbs for Cooking

Besides quilting, gardening is one of my favorite activities! I love spending time outside, watching the plants grow, and using the plants in our kitchen. We devote our entire garden to vegetables and herbs, and enjoy cooking with fresh food and drying herbs to use in canning and for tea. I’m not an expert, but have really found fun in drying herbs this year, and thought others may be interested in my process!

I always pick my herbs right away in the morning. The essential oils are at their highest then, so you can make sure you’re getting the most flavor. 


Cut the herb with a scissors to avoid damanging the plant (it will grow more from where you’ve cut it). I leave at least 2″ of the stem on the plant to encourage new growth. 


Wash your herbs with cold water before you start the drying process. 


Gather a bunch of herbs together. (I’ve found that any more than five clipping grouped together slows down the drying process.) 


I wrap the stems of my herb bunch with a rubber band. 


Then, I hook a paper clip onto the rubber band for a hanger. 


I have a garland hanging in my kitchen, which I find is perfect for drying herbs. I keep my herbs out of direct sunlight to preserve the color. I rotate the herbs daily to make sure they’re getting even air exposure. No matter where you hang your herbs, you want to make sure it’s in a cool, dry place to avoid molding. 


When the herbs are dry, break the leaves from the stems. Drying can take a few days or a few weeks depending on the plant. I’ve found that leaves like oregano, mint, and lemon balm dry faster than plants with stick leaves like rosemary and lavender. 


Depending on your usage, you can leave the leaves whole or break them into smaller pieces. I like to leave leaves I’m using in cooking like oregano whole, while the ones I’m using for tea get broken down a little smaller. 


I store my herbs in mason jars to keep them fresh longer. (My plan is to fill these jars by the end of the summer.)


My favorite herbs to grow for drying:

  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Lemon balm
  • Lavender 

Do you dry herbs? What are your favorites? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for joining me for “happy hour,”

Lindsay

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