More and more people are growing their own herbs but many of them are throwing out their herbs when they’re no longer fresh.
We think everyone should know how to dry herbs. Drying prevents waste and ensures that your tasty homegrown herbs can add value to your meals until they’ve all been eaten.
Why Dry Herbs?
Well, if you’re growing herbs in your kitchen garden, apartment garden or actual garden then you’re already saving money on store bought herbs.
But if you can dry your herbs, you’re saving even more money because you’re making your herbs go further.
You’re also guaranteed to get the freshest possible dried herbs, as those in a store might have been waiting for weeks or months before they were sold.
Can You Dry All Herbs?
In theory, yes. In practice, not all herbs dry as easily. This is due to the essential oils and water content in the plant as well as how vulnerable the plant is to mold or bacteria.
Easy herbs to dry include sage, basil, and rosemary because they’ve got big leaves and need very little work in the drying process.
Challenges include dill and thyme as you need to carefully separate the parts of the plant to dry them.
However, you can dry any herb and if you’ve got some practice in, this isn’t so challenging that you can’t do it at home with one of our methods for drying herbs.
4 Herb Drying Methods
This is the classic way to dry herbs and very easy to do.
Take a bunch of herbs of around an inch across.
Then hang it upside down in the air until it dries.
Finally, crumble the dried herbs into a container and seal it to preserve them.
Alternatively, separate the leaves from the stems of the herbs.
Lay them out on a tray and let them dry that way.
Watch out for draughts though as they will blow the leaves around.
Either way, it takes about a week to dry herbs fully.
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Spread the leaves out flat on a tray and then cook them, keeping the temperature low, for 2-4 hours.
You may find the herbs stick to the trays when they are done, so use a clean cloth to dislodge them into a bowl.
Dry Them In The Oven
The oven will also do the job.
Lay a cheesecloth over a baking tray and then add the leaves to the top.
Bake at a minimum heat for approximately 30 minutes.
A non-traditional approach to drying herbs involves your microwave.
Separate your leaves and stems.
Wash anything you want to save and then dry it between two paper towels.
Then transfer the dry product to the microwave between two fresh paper towels.
Nuke the herbs for a minute and check their progress.
Then keep going in 30 second intervals until your herbs crumble properly.
How Do You Store Your Dried Herbs?
You can keep them in any convenient air tight container, old herb jars, tupperware, etc.
How Do You Cook With Your Dried Herbs?
You cook with them in the same way as you cook with the fresh herb but you only need about ⅓ of the quantity of herbs when they are dry.
Why? Because drying tends to increase the flavor of the herb.
We would note that for some uses, fresh herbs are better (think salads, for example) but if you’re cooking with herbs it doesn’t matter very much if you use fresh or dried.