Drying Herbs from your Garden

November 8th, 2013

It is November, you’ve likely already put your garden away, or you will soon. I’ve personally been procrastinating. Outside maybe the frost has already gotten your herbs, maybe not, maybe you live in Florida and it never will, most of us though have to say goodbye at some point to your fresh herbs from the garden, but that is okay, because you can continue reaping the bounty in the winter if you simply dry your herbs.

Drying Herbs

Drying Herbs

Not all herbs take well to drying, basil loses much of its flavor, though it still has some flavor, it isn’t very good. Tarragon ends up practically tasteless when dried. However, some herbs do quite well being dried. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage all dry quite well, though why anyone would want sage is another matter (its yucky!).

Anyone who has bought herbs at the store knows how expensive they are, fresh or dry, and at this time of year why sacrifice that large rosemary shrub you planted in the Spring to the gods of Winter? Cut it down, it is going to die anyway (if you’re north of zone 7) and dry it, you’ll have all the rosemary you need. Your thyme and oregano may make it through the winter, but not without damage, so cut liberally from them too, and bring it all inside.

Drying herbs is the easiest thing in the world. You can use a fancy food dehydrator, I have one and it is great for making apple chips, or beet chips, or kale chips, or drying out hot peppers for making powder seasonings, but it isn’t necessary. If you’ve ever dried flowers before you know how to dry herbs. Just pick a warm spot out of direct sunlight and out of the way, bundle your herbs up with some twice, and hang them upside down. Give it a few weeks, when they’re brittle, they’re done.

You can leave them as is, picking off the leaves or needles as needed, or you can pluck the stems now and store them loose in canisters or jars. The volatile oils in the plants that give them their flavors will degrade eventually, you’ll help slow that process down by keeping them out of direct sunlight, in a sealed container, but one with some extra air in it (glass jars are better than plastic bags). Then enjoy them to flavor your cooking until your garden is growing again next summer, it is hard to beat something so cheap and easy.

2 Responses to “Drying Herbs from your Garden”

  1. Jenny  Says:

    Cilantro dries ok and retains some of it’s flavor, especially when it’s added to a soup or stew. Beats buying them at the store for $15+

  2. Kate  Says:

    I sometimes dry my own rosemary and oregano. I love its taste when dried and mixed with my favorite dishes.

Leave a Response

(Email field must be filled in)

Top of page...