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.


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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26 Responses to “How to Dry Your Own Herbs From the Garden” Subscribe

  1. Lynda - TasteFood July 31, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    It’s so easy to dry herbs and I never do it. Thanks for the prompt!

  2. apuginthekitchen July 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    I did this with thyme and mint I will have to take your advice and shade them from the sun during the time when it’s strongest. I love having dried herbs for the winter. Great tips Susan.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Talented Artist And Designer And A Pear Tree Grows in BrooklynMy Profile

  3. Norma Chang July 31, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks for the herbs drying tips, my herbs are growing well but I somehow never got around to drying them, your post is just the incentive I need to get moving.
    Norma Chang recently posted..Harvest Monday, July 28, 2014, Peppermint Swiss Chard + Carrots ExperimentMy Profile

  4. lizthechef July 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    In the old days, I was taught to dry herbs in a slow oven – absolutely no need! I tend to hang bunches of basil, thyme and mint upside down in my kitchen because it makes me feel French 😉
    lizthechef recently posted..Easy Summer Tomato JamMy Profile

  5. Peter July 31, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks a lot! That has been great therefore easy to make.
    Peter recently posted..Kancelaria notarialna w Katowicach PiotrowicachMy Profile

  6. Michelle July 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Fantastic, I am going to this straight away! I have herbs coming out of my ears right now.

  7. Kim - Liv Life July 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    What a fabulous idea!! I always have plants that seem to go a little wild, and why I’ve not thought to dry them is beyond me. Thanks for making it easy!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian August 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

      Same here. And now that I’m doing it, it’s so easy! I’m going to take a cue from a friend of mine who commented above, and pretend now that I’m in the countryside of Provence when I’m doing it :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Fresh Dried Oregano From My GardenMy Profile

  8. Des @ Life's Ambrosia July 31, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve got lots of summer savory that I was wondering what to do with. Now I know just how to preserve it. Yay!
    Des @ Life’s Ambrosia recently posted..Cajun Hot Dogs with Spicy SlawMy Profile

  9. Nicole July 31, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    I’ve never dried my own herbs. I’ll have to give it a try!
    Nicole recently posted..M&M Cookie Ice Cream CakeMy Profile

  10. Ashlee July 31, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    Brilliant! thanks for sharing
    Ashlee recently posted..Harry Potter Snitch Cake TutorialMy Profile

  11. Oui, Chef August 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Oregano is a seriously prolific producer. Thanks for the drying tips, sounds like a great technique.
    Oui, Chef recently posted..Brownie and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream SandwichesMy Profile

  12. Christina August 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Oh yes, I dry my bay leaves, basil and rosemary…love it, and it does taste way better than bought!
    Christina recently posted..How to Make Homemade Marshmallows (without Corn Syrup)My Profile

  13. cheri August 4, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    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

  14. mjskit August 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    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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