Preserving herbs by drying
I preserve herbs in many ways, but my all-time favorite is still the old fashioned way, by drying. Here’s some tips:
Harvest after the morning dew has dried from the leaves but before the sun gets hot, around noontime.
Cut only healthy branches - yellowed or spotted leaves will have no flavor.
Remove insects - I like to shake them a bit since it seem there’s always hitchhikers.
No need to rinse herbs off unless there is soil on them. Be sure and dry well. Wet herbs tend to get mildew/mold as they dry.
Remove an inch or so of lower leaves. Tie together several branches to make a bunch. I have used rubber bands in the past but sometimes they loosen, so whether you use string or rubber bands, check as herbs dry to make sure they’re not slipping out.
Don’t bunch too many branches together. You want good air circulation between the branches.
I like to hang my herbs in the kitchen since they look nice. But that can get messy. A good way is to use a paper bag. Place bundle of herbs upside down in the bag and gather the bag at the top around the herbs and tie closed. You might want to punch a few holes in the sides of the bag for air circulation, but I don’t. Hang bag in warm place with good air circulation.
You can also chop tender herbs like basil and edible flowers in pieces and lay them on screens or towels to dry in a warm place with good circulation. Herbs dried this way usually take only a few days and retain more of their color.
Check after a couple of weeks to see if they’re dried. Any leaves that have mold on them discard.
Store dried herbs in airtight, dark colored containers if you have them, away from heat and light. Leaves left whole will retain more flavor.
Label jars with name of herb and date. They will last about a year.
To use dried herbs in place of fresh: 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 1 tablespoon fresh.