:: Home Dried Herbs: A Few Quick Tips!

September 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm 15 comments

Winter is coming so quickly this year, but I want to make sure I hang on to the best of the summer in my cooking during the coming cold months.  How you ask?  The answer- home dried herbs!

If you’ve been growing herbs in your garden all summer like me, this is probably one of your last chances this year to make the most of them.  Plus home drying herbs is so simple and fun and they also make a great Christmas pressie for fellow food lovers!

Drying herbs can really bring out some intense flavors, which can often be even tastier than there fresh counterparts.  They are a fantastic addition to recipes and I love using them to intensify the flavors of soups, stews, and sauces.  Hardy herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Bay,  and Sage, are perfect for drying and in most cases the natural oils are not depleted during the process. 
Try to harvest the herbs on a dry day, mid morning just after the dew has dried, this will ensure the herbs are at their freshest when you pick them.

Here are my tips for harvesting and drying herbs!  :

  1. Snip the herbs at the stem.  
  2. Choose nice long branches and pick off any dead leaves.
  3. Give the stems a gentle shake to remove any insects or dirt.  (You can choose to give the herbs a quick wash, but make sure to dry on kitchen paper, as moisture can cause rot.)
  4. Bundle a good handful of the stems together and tie at the bottom with twine tightly.  (As the herbs dry, you may need to tighten the knot)
  5. Hang the herbs in a warm dry place, I hang mine in a small room just over the water heater, so they’re kept nice and warm!
  6. The time it takes to dry the herbs will depend on their moisture content, but in most cases when the stems crack and no longer bend, they are ready to be stored.
  7. Store the dried herbs in an airtight container and leave the leaves uncrushed until you’re ready to use them.

Enjoy the herbs right through the winter, and give your dishes some extra flavor! 

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Entry filed under: herbs, tips.

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Darius T. Williams  |  September 30, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    This is soooo much better than buying the crappy herbs that I buy.

    Reply
  • 2. eatersregret  |  October 1, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Wow impressive! I am so bad at adding herbs and seasonings to dishes, I always forget and have to throw them in at the end. Can’t imagine actually drying my own, though am contemplating making chutneys for Christmas – so may be getting more adventurous in the kitchen after all.

    Reply
  • 3. Donal  |  October 1, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Hey Darius- Definitely! Let me know how you get on!Hey Eaters- Easy to forget but when you do use them- Oh so tasteeee! 🙂 Oooh I must try a few chutney’s I had a hankerin for a bit spread on a sandwich the other day!

    Reply
  • 4. kittie  |  October 1, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Never thought to do this before – not sure why… I have some herbs left in the garden, Going to see if I can rescue them tonight!

    Reply
  • 5. Donal  |  October 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Hey Kittie- Definitely do! Make sure to save them before things get a little frosty…

    Reply
  • 6. Mallory Elise  |  October 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    ahk! your herb photos are incredible–nice kick in the face of all those damn creme brulees, ahhh!! and your Turkey photos as well, amazing color. hmmm yes but i like the chicken shot best. i wish i had an herb garden. some day. some day.you have great photo talent!

    Reply
  • 7. Em  |  October 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Awesome post! I am in SoCal so our growing season continues. My herb garden is in great shape right now but I will definitely be drying some herbs this winter thanks to you!!!Have a delicious day 🙂

    Reply
  • 8. Donal  |  October 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Hey Mallory- Thanks a million! Which chicken shot? Oh the one with the chickens! Oh right hahaha! My garden is more like a couple of pots- so you could do it anywhere you have outdoor space!Hey Em- Thanks! Oh you lucky thing I would love to be back in the sun, my holiday in Turkey definitely left me wanting more! Let me know how you get on! Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  • 9. Nate-n-Annie  |  October 1, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Do basil and mint dry as well as sage and thyme?

    Reply
  • 10. bakingforthecure  |  October 2, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    What a nice bunch of helpful tips! thanks!

    Reply
  • 11. Culinary Cory  |  October 3, 2008 at 2:31 am

    I love the herb pictures. They have great texture.

    Reply
  • 12. glutenfreeforgood  |  October 8, 2008 at 2:18 am

    You’ve motivated me to do something about all these herbs I’ve got in pots and from my local CSA delivery. I’m overwhelmed with cilantro, parsley, dill, sage, rosemary. I can’t eat all of it, although I’m trying. I just lifted your instructions off your blog post. I’ll get with it tomorrow. Thanks!In good health,Melissa

    Reply
  • 13. Heidi / Savory Tv  |  October 19, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Thank you so much for the tips, and your photos are gorgeous!

    Reply
  • 14. Bob LaGatta  |  October 25, 2008 at 6:07 am

    I don’t know on how I stumbled upon this cooking blog., All I know is that I’d better check out the archives for a good read. Ha-ha! Just droppin’ to say hi!Oh. You might want to check this out: http://www.technocooks.com for uhm…a different “menu.”

    Reply
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