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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