Drying Herbs

Autumn is in the air, my garden is winding down and our kitchen counter top is filled with fabulous smelling herbs that are waiting to be used.

I just loooooooooooove herbs! Don’t you?

The smell is intoxicating and the taste adds such a depth of flavor and vibrancy to just about anything. If you could smell the fabulous aroma filling my kitchen at the moment…oh MY!

Luckily, I happen to be married to a darling husband who finds great joy in dabbling in the garden and especially loves to dry herbs.

For years we’ve had a running joke about looking in the oven before turning it on because one never knows when My Yanni might be in the process of his herb drying.

And let me tell you, I have done this a time or two and burned herbs don’t smell good. 

This past weekend My Yanni was at it again…a delicious stack of herbs were piled high on my countertop and I decided to snap some photos of the process. I have always taken the delightful dried herbs that we enjoy (on just about everything) for granted. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy the process really is and decided to share it with all of you!

Simply pinch off the tops of your favorite herbs, we used basil, thyme and oregano. Wash herbs in cool water, and roll them gently in a paper towel to dry up the excess water.

Grab a jellyroll pan (or a cookie sheet) and place a wire cooling rack on top, this allows the air to circulate.

Next, spread the herbs out into a single layer on top of wire rack, pop the pan (or pans) into the oven (that isn’t turned on) and let sit for 2-3 weeks. You may want to leave yourself & other family members, a reminder note about the herbs being in the oven…remember, burned herbs = not good.

After about 2-3 weeks, depending on the humidity in you house, the herbs will look like this…

Make certain that the leaves are perfectly crunchy, otherwise any leftover moisture in the leaves will cause the herbs to collect condensation and get moldy in the container .

And the only thing worse than burned herbs would be moldy-partially-dried herbs. Ick.

My Yanni likes to work in batches one herb at a time.

No to be confused with thyme…which just so happens to be the herb with which he started.

Are you confused? Sorry. This is how I amuse myself…bear with me.

My Yanni began by placing all of the thyme in a bowl, grabbed a piece of butcher paper and gathered the glass containers that would hold the dried herbs.

Ever so carefully, sprig by sprig, he plucked the fragrant leaves off of the stem…

And let them fall into a pile on the butcher paper. I kept saying in my type A personality way, “why are you letting all of that fall onto the paper, you’re making a mess.”

He just smiled knowingly and gave me that “I’ve got it under control” look.

After all of the leaves had been plucked off, I think he may have actually snickered as he picked up the paper and effortlessly poured it into the container.

*Oh*

I think that I may have mumbled something like, “you’re so smart” under my breath and we moved on.

He repeated the same process with the basil.

Pluck.

Pile.

Pour.

Take care to keep the leaves whole while plucking them off the stem. Later when seasoning your food you’ll crumble the leaves to release the oils & aromas.

Ahhhhh, beautiful basil.

Next was the oregano.

Pluck.

Pile.

I’m SO glad that I thought to put a piece of paper down to catch the leaves and make for easy pouring.

Just kidding.

Pour.

Store the herbs in an airtight glass container with a lid. If using clear glass, store herbs in a dry dark place. Leafy herbs can loose their flavor faster than other herbs (but at our house we use them up quickly) as long as the herbs are fragrant they’re good.

Drying herbs is fun & easy…remember the 3 P’s.

Pluck.

Pile.

Pour.

And in no time flat you’ll have heaps of delicious dried herbs at your fingertips.

Enjoy!

~ Wenderly

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this! I hate when I can’t use them up before going bad – I too LOVE herbs!!

  2. Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Clever idea, would never think to put them in an oven and just the herbs sit. Curious about the basil – sometimes my basil turns black just after a few days, any idea why?

    • Posted October 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jeanette,

      My sister is a horticulturist and I asked her about it, she says she needs more details to be certain. However anytime anything turns black it could be a mold, a fungus, or a rot (all 3 could be exacerbated by too much humidity or dampness). Hope that helps! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I love that he’s so knowledgeable about drying herbs! Such a great idea.

  4. Christienne
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I probably should have thought to do this before my herb plants took on too much rain and cold weather in the yard. Consider me a day late and a dollar short on this one!

    I just might try planting some new plants in the house – see if I can make them grow in the house this winter!

  5. Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Got to get on this! Time gets the best of me every year and I forget to grab some herbs for drying before winter hits them hard. Good idea Yanni!

  6. Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Such great tips!! And WOW does your hubby have nice hands. :)

  7. Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    great information and post

  8. Posted October 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Pluck.
    Pile.
    Pour a glass of wine.
    I MEAN HERBS.
    (love this, lady!)

  9. Posted October 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I need to dry some of our herbs asap!

  10. Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow this is so cool. I had no idea it was this easy to dry herbs! I love all the shots, it looks like such a fun, delicious thing to do with all those herbs before winter hits.

  11. Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Great idea! now I can make my dry herbs instead of buying them, thanks for the tutorial!

    http://whatdidiate.blogspot.com/

  12. Posted October 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Love this post – I have a ton of herbs on the patio that I need to dry! Lovely photos!

  13. Posted October 4, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Nice tutorial, Wendy. We are drying our herbs as I type. I’ve used a dehydrator but I like the natural method of letting them dry on their own much better. We even hang some to dry. And, my husband, has strings of hot peppers drying in our kitchen right now!

  14. Posted October 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I love this. LOVE. And where did you get those charming little cups?

    • Posted October 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi Georgia!

      Those are antique custard cups! Figures that your *antique loving* eye would notice those! They come with a darling stamped gold lid!

  15. Posted October 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I have thyme and basil in my garden right now that is weeks away from being frozen. I can’t wait to dry them so I can use them all year!

  16. Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Can you take them out of the oven when you need to use it?

    • Posted October 5, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Hi Jen,

      Yes! You may take them out whenever you need to use the oven! My Yanni just likes to keep them in the oven because it is a dry, protected, area that is out of the way.

  17. Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh I love, love, LOVE, LOVE this! Your Yanni is a keeper!

  18. Posted October 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    My son-in-law grows his own herbs every summer too. Your souvlaki is going to be lovely in the middle of winter with that fresh dried oregano to season it (not to mention many other dishes)!

  19. Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I love this idea. I never thought of drying herbs in fall before. Next year this will definitely be on my ‘to do’ list.

  20. Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Wendy. I need to practice doing this more instead of letting my herbs go bad.

  21. Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Such a good idea…mine always go bad, never had the thought to dry them and then use them :)
    I love your ..pluck, pile & pour, makes it all seems so simple….

  22. Posted October 13, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this tutorial. We used to harvest and hang our herbs from the beams each year, but this is much faster (and cleaner).

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