How to Dry Fresh Herbs | Kitchen Tips
Before I left for Cape Cod, I hung bundles around the house to dry fresh herbs from my garden. Basically, where ever I found a free nail or hook, a bouquet of something from the garden found a home. I’ve been so fortunate with my herb garden this year, and this is the perfect way to savor my bounty all year long.
Fresh dried herbs have a truer flavor than what you buy in the supermarket since they’ve barely had time to sit on a shelf before using them. It’s also a huge savings to dry your own herbs. Even if you don’t have a garden, how many times have you bought a bunch of herbs for one recipe, and then let the rest spoil away in the fridge? I’m guilty of it, too, or at least I used to be.
Now, it’s true dried herbs are very different than their fresh counterparts. You’ll need to adjust your expectations in the winter months when using dried herbs. I’ve been doing it for so long, my palate easily adjusts from fresh basil in my marinara sauce to dried basil come the cooler weather.
Herbs with a sturdy stem, like rosemary, lemon verbena, thyme, chamomile, and tarragon just need to be tied in a bundle and hung to dry completely (it can take up to 2 weeks for this, depending on the humidity level in your house).
Once dried, remove the leaves, add them to a glass jar, and compost the stems.
More delicate herbs like basil and parsley dry best when the fresh leaves are removed from the stem before drying. The stems contain a lot of water, and delay the drying process. Hope you find this little kitchen tip helpful!
I put my herbs in microwave to dry.
Tell me more, Sharon. Do you do it at 100%, or a lower setting, to slowly dry them out? -Jennie
This may seem like a silly question but when you dry chamomile (for tea I presume) do you use the whole stem or just the flower heads?
Not a silly question at all, and one I thought about as I looked at my own chamomile drying, so I did a little research. You only use the buds & flowers, and toss the stems in the compost. xo-Jennie
Definitely do reduced power in the microwave! I tried drying herbs in the microwave once (read about it in a cooking magazine) and missed the reduced power part of the instructions. The herbs burst into flame and melted the inside of my microwave. Not good. Not good at all. 😉
Oh my heavens! Thanks for sharing that info, Jill. xo-Jennie