Sunday, August 19, 2012

Drying Herbs

Many of our herbs are starting to flower. I wanted to start drying bunches so we can use them all winter long.  Today I harvested a few different types: spicy globe basil, purple shisho, greek oregano, summer savory and some of our hopi red dye amaranth that was knocked over by our gourds!  First I washed all the leaves as best as I could (except for the amaranth, it’s too fragile) and let them dry off.

For hardier herbs like oregano, savory, rosemary, etc you can simply air dry them out of direct sunlight.  Just gather them in bunches from the stems, tie together and hang.  I always have lots of dust, dirt and animal hair in my house so I prefer to be safe and put a brown paper bag around the herb bunches.  I took some scrap fabric strips and tied the herb bunches tightly together. 

Then I placed the herbs in brown paper bags, cut a small hole in the bag and inserted the fabric strips through the hole. 

I tied the strips tightly around the outside of the bag, and tied an additional loop with the excess fabric so I could hang the bag. 

Worked out pretty well!  I hung them under a shelf that doesn’t get much sun.

For herbs with delicate, soft leaves like basils or mints you have to dry them quickly.  So you can use a dehydrator, which I do not have, or your oven.  I just spread my basil and shisho out on a cookie sheet, turned my oven to the lowest setting, and checked on the herbs frequently, flipping them over here and there.  It took about 3 hours until they were completely dried.  Then I pulled the leaves off the stems and stored them in air tight containers out of sunlight.

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