Come and learn how to dry your fresh garden herbs. The old fashioned technique is super simple, quick and easy. You don’t need any special equipment or even a lot of space.
As the year draws to a close I’ve been looking for ways to preserve my harvests to enjoy through the winter. I don’t have much time or space and I can’t justify any more expense this year.
I’ve learned over this past year that the traditional techniques for preserving food are often simplest and most accessible for beginners. For example fruit is traditionally made into jams to preserve it. Herbs are traditionally dried.
The old fashioned methods tend to need less specialist equipment or involve complicated processes. After all our grandmother’s would have used these techniques in their own kitchens, long before kitchen aids became widely availible.
Step by Step – How to Dry Herbs
Step 1 – Cut
Use a pair of scissors to cut long stems from the plant.
Long stems are best because you have more herbs per stem and the leaves will be spaced out nicely to let lots of air flow between them.
Step 2 – Bunch
Gather a bunch of a few stems and tie them very tightly with some twine.
Make sure you tie the twine around the stems and a few times and get those knots good and tight.
Leave a trailing end of twine about 15cm or so long.
If you use twine made from an organic material, such as scraps of wool knitting yarn or embroidery cotton, then you will be able to add the whole punch of stems to your compost pile after you’ve removed the dried leaves. You can totally use synthetic twine, you’ll just need to separate it form the stems before putting the twine in the bin and the stems in the compost.
Step 3 – Hang
Hang up your bunches of herbs and enjoy the glorious scent they release. Not to mention the free Halloween decorations with added kitchen witch vibes.
Hang them upside down as the stems won’t hold the leaves upwards for more than a day or so.
You do need to make sure they are hung out of direct sunlight or the sun will bleach them.
You also need to make sure they are hung somewhere with good ventilation so hiding them in your wardrobe isn’t a great idea.
Your bathroom is also a bad choice due ton the moisture.
A shelf in a lesser used corner of your kitchen is ideal. Mine are in my dining room where I have installed a pole to display my patchwork quilts – the one’s I haven’t got round to making yet. A mantelpiece is also a good option.
If you hang them in your bedroom the scent will help to deter creepy crawlies like moths, from flitting around your room at night.
Leave them there for a week or two. You can basically just forget about them and enjoy the décor.
Step 4 – Storage
Your leaves are ready when they are completely bone dry and brittle.
Push the whole bunch of herbs into a clean jam jar. Gently pull out each individual stem leaving the leaves in the jar. Dispose of the stems and twine.
You can blitz the leaves in a blender or crush them with a knife. I have a handy herb chopper that makes is nice and easy to chop the herbs. Bashing them with a fork doesn’t hurt either.
Pour the chopped and bashed up herbs into a jar. Use the same jar you used to collect the leaves or use a smaller one if you like. You can also use old herb jars from the supermarket.
I had quite a lot of dried mint and no little herb jar form the supermarket so I’ve used an old small chilli jar.
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A Little Bit About Me . . .
Thank you so much for stopping by my corner little of the interweb. I’m Bridie, mum to two small humans, full time homemaker and full time craftaholic – which totally explains why I’m always short on time!
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