Do it yourself

Drying Fresh Herbs

Drying fresh herbs in your own home

Drying fresh herbs at your home is easy and convenient
Drying fresh herbs at your home is easy and convenient

Since we have started growing our own vegetables and herbs on our homestead, we have also been drying fresh herbs to be more self sustainable. It is an easy task anyone can do at their own home and growing herbs in your garden looks beautiful. In fact, no garden is complete without herbs. Whether you live on a farm or in a small flat in a big city, it is possible to grow your own herbs, dry them and store them for later use.

Using Herbs as Companion Plants

Companion planting: Basil, Parsley and Red miniature rose growing together
Companion planting: Basil, Parsley and Red miniature rose growing together

First of all, you don’t need a garden to grow herbs. A pot or any container big enough to hold the herbs will do fine. You can even plant multiple herbs together. I am a firm believer in companion planting and has seen for myself how one small herb can chase away plant lice without using any insecticides. Usually multiple herbs in one pot will thrive growing together.

Steps for Drying Fresh Herbs:

Drying fresh herbs away from dusts and insects
Drying fresh herbs away from dusts and insects
  • Choose your fresh herbs for drying carefully, making sure they are healthy and pest free. Not like the yellow-looking parsley you can see on the left of the photo below. I prefer them dark green, healthy looking and nourishing like the parsley on the right.
Choose your herbs carefully
Choose your herbs carefully
  • Rinse the fresh herbs under running water, removing all dust and debris.
  • Dry the herbs with a cloth or towel. This is very important to ensure the herbs don’t mold.
  • Let them dry for about one to two weeks. I like to place the fresh herbs in a roasting pan in the warming oven of our wood stove (when we’re not using it of course. ?) This is to protect them from all the pesky flies and dust. You can also cover them with paper bags and hang them upside down some place out of your way.

Grinding your herbs

  • After two weeks, pluck the leaves from the stems.
Pluck the leaves from the stems
Pluck the leaves from the stems
  • Crush the dried leaves to the consistency that you prefer. You can use either a hand crank coffee grinder, electric coffee grinder or a Mortar and Pestle for grinding. I like using a Mortar and Pestle for doing this. Be careful not to grind them too much, you might end up with dust! 
  • For dense herbs like Rosemary it is best to use a coffee grinder

Storing your herbs:

Crush the dried herbs with a Mortar and Pestle
Crush the dried herbs with a Mortar and Pestle
  • Transfer the crushed herbs to an airtight container using a funnel. I like using these small mason jars.

 

Drying fresh herbs and storing them in airtight containers
Drying fresh herbs and storing them in airtight containers

 

  • You need a lot of herbs for a little bit of spices!

 

Continue doing this until jar is full
Continue doing this until jar is full

 

  • Store the containers away from direct sunlight in a cool place.

In Conclusion:

Drying your own fresh herbs is easy and fun. Furthermore, it also saves money and allows you to experiment with your own spice combinations. Most of all I like mixing oregano, thyme, basil and parsley as our own homemade pasta spice!

What is your favorite?

Drying fresh herbs and preserving them is fun!
Drying fresh herbs and preserving them is fun! 

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