Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Dry Herbs

Did you plant fresh herbs in your garden this year?  I did.  I love using them when I cook.  You can keep enjoying your herbs in the winter if you take the time to dry them and store them.  Here's how to do it.

First of all, different herbs require different drying methods.  This is due to the varying moisture levels in the leaves.  Sage, thyme, savory, dill, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, and marjoram require air-drying.  Basil, tarragon, lemon balm, and mints require an oven or dehydrator.  Chives work best frozen.  Whatever you do, don't use a microwave.  The results just aren't good.

To air dry, follow these steps:

1.  Cut your herbs when they are dry.  Shake to remove insects, and remove damaged leaves.

2.  Rinse the herbs with cold water and dry with a paper towel (or regular towel).

3.  Remove the lower leaves from the stems. 

4.  Tie 5 or 6 stems together in a small bunch.

5.  Put branches upside down in a paper bag and gather the bag around the stems.  Poke some holes in the bag for ventilation.

6.  Write the name of the herb and the date you started drying on the bag.

7.  In about 2 - 3 weeks, your herbs will be dry.

8.  Separate the leaves from the stem and store them in a glass or plastic container (make sure you mark what it is on the container).  Ziploc bags can also work for storage.

To oven dry:

1.  Follow the first three steps from the air drying directions.

2.  Turn your oven to "warm"  (140-200 F) for 20 minutes.

3.  Turn oven off and pop in the herbs.

4.  Leave undisturbed overnight.

5.  You may need to repeat the process one more time.

6.  Follow step 8 from the air drying directions.



  1. I'm lazy - go to store, buy jar.
    Wonder if we could grow herbs? We've killed off just about everything else.

    1. Buying it is definitely less time-consuming. If you want to grow your own, maybe you can try one of those herb kits that you keep in your house. You might have luck with that.

  2. Replies
    1. I love cooking with herbs, and the fresh ones are the best!

  3. this is so lovely---i was just telling robyn i want to use more herbs in my cooking this fall--especially rosemary and tarragon :)

    1. Maybe you can grow your own. This past year, the winter was so mild, that my rosemary survived. It was nice not having to replant it!

  4. This is awesome Sherry. I'd like to grow bay leaves so I will hold onto your suggestions. Thanks!

  5. I'm definitely ear marking this post for future use. Thanks for sharing this great information, Sherry.

    1. You're welcome. With your raw food, and healthy cooking, I'm sure this will come in handy!