Dry Your Own Herbs

Dry Your Own Herbs

Drying herbs

Drying herbs at home is easy.  Most herbs contain little moisture that your job is done soon after you’ve bought or harvested them. Not only is it savvy but they’ll taste much better than the jarred equivalent and much more pungent.  If you grow your own herbs, you can choose the tastiest varieties too.

The basics

When hers are dried they are safe from bacteria, mould and yeast and will remain potent for at least six to 12 months. To remove the moisture, all you need is air circulation. Some warmth can also help.

Harvest your herbs mid-morning before newly developed essential oils have been burned off by the sun, but after the dew has dried. Remove old, dead, diseased or wilted leaves.

Indoor air drying herbs

Tie stems into bundles and hang them upside down. Use twist ties so you can easily tighten the bundles as the stems shrink when they dry. A warm dry spot is best- avoid a kitchen. Wrap muslin, a mesh produce bag or a paper bag with several holes around the bundles, and tie it at the neck. You could even make these a gift by adding a ribbon at this point.

A drying screen helps dry leaves or sprigs. Make your own from an old window screen or hardware cloth mesh stapled to scrap wood or a picture frame. Lay cheese cloth over the screen, then place herbs on the cloth. Herbs can take a few hours to several days to dry fully.

Solar drying herbs

This method is easy if you live in a warm dry place (not likely Yorkshire). The ideal solar food-drying conditions are 100 degrees and 60% humidity (see definitely not Yorkshire!)

If it’s a hot summer’s day you might be able to get away with this technique.

Use the suns heat to fry herbs, but don’t expose to too much direct sunlight as this could cause them to bleach. Solar drying can be as low-tech as playing screen outside until your herbs dry. You can also dry herbs under the windshield or rear window of your car on a hot day- it will also make your car smell lovely too. A DIY solar food dryer with stackable drying screens , as glass top to trap radiation, an absorber plate to transmit heat and vent for air circulation is useful too but not the quickest option