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Drying Herbs To Preserve And Enjoy

Drying herbs will preserve the leaves. You can enjoy them in foods or dried arrangements. These plant specimens, when dried, will last a long time.

Sow, Grow and Preserve. Does this sound a little odd to you? These plant species are wonderful and easy to grow, maintain, and dry. Taking care of the plants doesn't require much effort. A sunny location in a landscape garden or a container garden works best. Just water at regular intervals.

Many of these plants produce beautiful colored flowers. The flowers can be dried as well as the leaves. There are several different ways you can dry these plants. Below are three basic methods you might want to consider.

Fresh Oregano Plant And Leaves Drying On Screen

Close Up Of Oregano
Oregano Drying

Actually, your first step for drying herbs is done before the herbs are cut! Make sure all your plants are freshly watered. Give the plants a good watering about an hour or so before you plan to harvest them. Water the roots and mist the leaves. After waiting an hour, cut each branch at an angle so you don't damage any of the leaves or flowers.

One of the best methods of drying the leaves is to let them dry naturally.

Steps To Remove Moisture

  • Dry them in a dark location. A garage, shed, bedroom, or closet works well. The area needs to be warm. Some indirect lighting is fine.

  • I use a couple of saw horses and put an old screen across the two saw horses. Spread out the herbs so that each individual branch can dry. You can do different specimens on the same screen.

  • For long and bigger plants, tie them in a bunch and hang them upside down. Use a clothes rack or take some clothes line and hang in a dark location. Another option is hanging them upside down with a paper bag wrapped around the plant. This will protect dust from accumulating on the leaves. Put a fan close by as it will speed up the drying process.

  • Depending on the climate conditions, most herbs will dry in three to seven days. Don't let them turn brown. You want the plants to retain some of their green color.

  • Wash and dry your hands throughly. Take a couple groups of leaves and rub them between your hands. Crumble the leaves up as small as you want. Some people like bigger leaves for their Italian dishes.

  • Store the crumbled herbs in jars. Usually, small glass jars are large enough. Simply hand-tighten the lid. Herbee has some jars he still uses after three years. They will tend to lose their color and flavor. A good rule of thumb is to replenish the jar after a year or two. A two inch round glass canning jar is a great size to fit on counter tops or in cupboards.

Plant Stacker

Great For Container Gardens

Tight on space? This is a wonderful compact indoor container herb garden. It's great for a person with a small area. Plants will grow strong and healthy. Consider it as a gift, too.

Think about how you will use the plant. Is it for cooking, or in Potpourri? You can also use the entire bunch as a decoration in your kitchen. Your kitchen theme can become an herbal paradise by also adding vinegars. Read more about vinegars below.

Below you can read about growing herbs from seeds. It's a step by step in germinating the seeds. Find out about Herbee's little secret to success with growing seeds.

Other Methods For Drying Herbs

There are a couple of other methods for drying your herbs. You can put them in the microwave between two paper towels. Heat for two to three minutes.

A conventional oven can also be used. The temperature should be set to around 100°F. Place the leaves on a baking sheet and heat until they're crisp.

Most spices can be dried by any of these three methods. However, garlic and regular chives don't dry well. Put them in a zip lock bag and freeze them for up to a year.

The herb flowers can also be dried in the same manner as the leaves. Lamb Ears, Oregano, Basil, Feverfew, Garlic, Hyssop, and Rosemary flowers make a wonderful dried arrangement. Whatever method you decide to use, drying herbs is a simple way to preserve the flowers and leaves.

Herbee Recommends These Related Articles

Growing Your Favorite Drying Herbs From Seeds --- Vinegars

Insights On Spices --- Herbal Garden Plans

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