How to dry your own herbs from the garden.
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.
- 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!!