How to Dry Herbs from Your Garden

How to Dry Herbs from Your Garden

Growing your own fresh herbs is one of the most rewarding things you can do! Ree Drummond herself has been known to plant basil in her own backyard herb garden. In fact, she often finds herself with too many herbs at the end of the season—a dilemma that many of us have faced from time to time. “I’ve been known to ‘accidentally’ overplant basil in the summer, so we end up overrun with it by mid-July,” she says, “It’s a great problem to have!” But what should you do with all those extra herbs? Dry them, of course!

Drying herbs is a great way to preserve that garden-fresh summer flavor throughout the year. It requires minimal effort and it’s so much more affordable than buying dried herbs from the store. Plus, you can use dried herbs to season so many recipes like soups and stews or even a flavorful herb butter. You can also sprinkle dried herbs over dinner rolls before baking or stir them into your favorite spaghetti sauce. And, of course, you can use dried herbs for homemade ranch seasoning! Just remember that the flavor is more potent in dried herbs versus fresh herbs, so if you’re looking to make a swap, you’ll need less dried herbs than you would fresh. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the different methods for drying fresh herbs.

air drying herbs

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What is the best way to dry fresh herbs?

The best way to dry fresh herbs will depend on which herbs you’re looking to dry. Delicate herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, and parsley, which have a higher moisture content will benefit from using a dehydrator or the oven; heartier herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme, can easily be air dried or even dried in the microwave. Here are four methods for how to dry herbs:

Air Drying

This might just be the easiest way to dry herbs, including lavender! All you need to do is grab a bunch of fresh herb sprigs and tie them together with a piece of string or a rubber band. Then, hang the bundle of herbs upside down in a cool, dark, and dry place. Depending on the moisture in the air, your herbs can take anywhere from a few days to up to a week to dry. You’ll know the herbs are dry when they crumble easily.

Oven Drying

Looking for a quicker way to dry herbs? Use your oven. Start by removing the leaves from the stems, then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Set the oven to the lowest temperature and bake until the leaves easily crumble.

Dehydrating

Similar to the oven method, a food dehydrator is a simple way to dry your herbs quickly. You can set the dehydrator to 95 degrees and arrange the herbs in a single layer on a dehydrator tray. Cook for two to four hours, or until the herbs easily crumble.

Microwave Drying

Yes, you can use your microwave to dry herbs! This method allows the herbs to dry within minutes. Simply, separate the leaves of your herbs from the stems and place the leaves between two paper towels. Microwave for one minute, then continue to microwave in 30-second intervals until easily crumbled.

The Pioneer Woman Six Jar Spice Rack

The Pioneer Woman Six Jar Spice Rack

How to store dried herbs?

Once your herbs are dried, you’ll need to store your herbs for lasting freshness. Look for glass spice jars or mason jars to keep your dried herbs fresh. Be sure to label the jars with the date and store in your pantry or a cool, dark place. They’ll last for up to a year, but they may start to lose their flavor earlier so give them a smell to check.

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