How to Dry Your Own Herbs From the Garden

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How to dry your own herbs from the garden.

how to dry oregano and other herbs

I know. This isn’t really a recipe, except that it’s making such a difference to my food lately, I can’t NOT post about it.

I planted just 3 oregano plants about a year ago and the abundance billowing out from of them now is of epic proportion. If I don’t take some scissors to them once a week, I think they’d grow to my knees. Initially, I confess, I threw away what I wasn’t using. Which I know is Just. Wrong. So I started to dry my own herbs.

I read that to dry herbs, you tie it them bundles, hang them upside down, and let them dry. But I have a MOUNTAIN of oregano. I calculated I would need a couple of spools of string, and it started to feel like more trouble than I wanted. I wanted “EASY”.

So I dug out a broad shallow basket I use as a tray for napkins, placemats, and silverware when we eat on the deck, and headed to the garden.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/drying-herbs-zm0z13fmzmat.aspx?SlideShow=1

I snipped off a bunch of oregano, washed and dried it and threw it all in the basket and set it outside in the sun. Once a day, I tossed it around a bit. After 4 days, it was all nicely dried. I stripped the leaves off and piled them into a jar. When I want to use some, I roll some leaves between my fingers to release a fresh explosion of oregano. So easy, and so much flavor. I may never go back to store-bought again.

Here are some tips I learned along the way should you decide to do this at home:

Herb Drying Tips…

  • Snip the herbs before they’re hit by mid-day sun. Just after the dew evaporates is great.
  • If you dry them in a basket like I do, make sure there’s good air circulation. My basket is a somewhat loose weave and raised a little from the table, and I toss the herbs once a day.

Dried Oregano from my garden basket up

  • It’s fine to expose them to morning sun, but the strength of afternoon sun tends to bleach them out and destroy some of the flavor. I place my basket on a table under an awning where it receives sun until around 10:30am. Sometimes I place it under a sun umbrella where it’s in the shade all day. Both methods work great.
  • Remove the leaves as soon as they’re crispy-dry to preserve as much flavor as possible, and place in a jar or other container you can tightly close with a lid. And don’t forget to slap on a label – especially if your herbs were a special kind of basil or thyme.
  • Experts state freshly dried herbs will stay fresh for about a year, but mine are typically used up after a few weeks. So I can’t weigh in on that.

I’m also interested in hearing any tips and methods you’ve learned along the way! Please feel free to share them in the comment section below!!

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Susan, I have tons of fresh oregano right now and will be following your instructions closely to dry mine. The basket is a great tip. Also there are a lot of recipes where I think the dried Oregano works better than the fresh. Thanks!
    cheri recently posted..Spiced Salmon KebabsMy Profile

  2. says

    Oh it’s time for me to start drying as well. Dried oregano is so much better than fresh oregano which is weird, and opposite from most herbs, but then that’s my opinion. :) You method looks great! Since it is so dry here in NM, all I have to do it lay it out on a sheet pan, and put it on the top shelf of the pantry for a few days. Dries right up. :) This was a great post Susan because growing and drying your own herbs is something that everyone can do. It’s easy!
    mjskit recently posted..Grilled Portabello Tacos with Red Chile-Yogurt SauceMy Profile

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