Monday, July 23, 2012

Drying Herbs

We had a post a few weeks back on Freezing Herbs.  Some herbs are great in a 'fresh' state.  Frozen herbs work for this although they will be a bit more whimpy and that really doesn't matter if you are cooking them anyway.

Some herbs, like Oregano, are best in their dry state because........well......Oregano can be somewhat strong.  I just like to keep some of all my herbs dried for when I need them quick.

Today all my dill was going to seed so if I was going to save any, it had to come in.  As you can see I had quite a pile.  I put newspapers down on the table before I started.  The pile was allowed to dry out in the house a bit before I began to make harvesting the dill weed easier.

You can see that I have quite a pile of seeds already for planting next year, using in pickles and other recipes.  The little green pile in the front is the dill weed that I harvested.  Normally I take a stalk, pick off the dill weed and then rub the seed head to release any seeds that don't just drop off, then I'm off to the next stalk. I do not compost these because of seeds that may be lingering, although each spring I normally have dill coming up everywhere like a weed. LOL

Many herbs take well to the low temps in natural drying.  Moisture in the air should be fairly dry or the herbs will mold before they dry this way.  Here I have some spearmint hanging in the house to dry.  While it dries it gives off such a sweet smell.

Many times I'll use my dehydrator to dry my herbs.  I am able to adjust the temps on my dehydrator so I adjust the temp low for herbs so I don't burn them.   Above is some Thyme that I'm drying on sheets.  Dried Thyme will fall through the cracks  of a normal dehydrator tray.  The air in this dehydrator goes up and over the outside of the trays.

On this try I have just a bit of extra sage that I over picked for an order.  Each herb has a different water content so be sure to check each variety often so that you don't over dry and burn your herbs.

Finally, I have some basil in the dehydrator.  Normally I freeze this herb but this time I'm drying a few just in case.

Once dried all herbs are put in an air tight container and stored in a cool, dark and dry place.

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