How to Dry Herbs at Home

You’ll never buy dried herbs again after you try one or more of these six methods for drying your own herbs at home.

| Summer 2018

Of all the various types of foods and ways to preserve them — freezing or canning fruits and vegetables, pickling, curing meat, making cheese and yogurt — dehydrating herbs is the easiest place to jump in. Most herbs contain so little moisture that your job is done soon after you’ve bought or harvested them.

Drying herbs is an economically savvy food preservation strategy, too, because fresh and dried herbs and teas command high prices at the grocery store.

Your own dried herbs will taste better than store-bought because they’ll be newer and thus more pungent. If you grow your own herbs, you can also choose the tastiest cultivars.

Herb Drying Basics

When herbs are dried, they’re safe from bacteria, mold, and yeast, and they’ll remain potent for at least 6 to 12 months. To remove moisture, all you need is air circulation. Some warmth can also help. The six methods detailed here fit the bill.

Washing herbs usually isn’t necessary if they’re grown organically. Harvest herbs in mid-morning before newly developed essential oils have been burned off by the sun, but after the dew has dried. Remove and discard old, dead, diseased, or wilted leaves.

6/21/2018 10:31:33 AM

Thank you for the good input on doing this. Last year I used a dehydrator because I didn't know I could do it this way, hanging upside down and I didn't know to pick the herbs before 10 am. They smell so good hanging there. I am drying parsley, Mint, Thyme, black basil and regular basil. Just wondered why you shouldn't hang them in the kitchen? Garage better?

6/10/2018 12:31:30 AM

I have three kinds of mint in a small garden and am keeping them all cut back so they won't go to seed and cross-pollinate. They are keeping me very busy! Mostly I have been using the electric dryer which works well, but thank you for these other methods. We live in a high-humidity area but I am going to try the paper bag method! Thanks again.

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