Monday, July 12, 2010

Drying Herbs

I love my herb garden for many reasons, but the best thing about having herbs right outside of your back door is the constant supply! I rarely have to worry about not having an herb for a recipe, which is nice when you want to make something, but don’t want to run to the grocery store first.

Herb Garden

I am not looking forward to winter when production in my herb bed will dwindle. That’s why I’m stocking up on fresh herbs now while they’re still growing well.

Drying your own herbs is the next best thing to having them fresh, so I’ve been trying to stock up!

Rosemary Prep

I had rosemary, flat leaf parsley, curly leaf parsley, and thyme that I wanted to dry. First, wash the herbs and towel off any visible water.

Then, tie twine into a loop on one end and tie the other end around the stems of the herbs. You want to make sure this is tight. I actually had to retie my parsley because as the stems dry down they shrink.

Also, you want to tie the herbs into smaller bunches rather than larger. You want air to be able to circulate and dry out the bunch evenly. If you have a huge bunch and there’s too much moisture in the center, it will start to mold and you’ll have to throw it out.


Hang in a well ventilated place. I hung these from some upper cabinets in my kitchen, but garages will work, too.

If you are worried about the smell of herbs while they’re drying, don’t! The only time you’ll smell the herbs as they dry is when you touch them. Rosemary is really the worst about this, too. The parsley and thyme don’t have such a pungent smell.


After two short weeks, my herbs were dry. One thing I was most surprised about was the fact that they retain their color so well.

Stripping Parsley Leaves

To pull the leaves off of the parsley, I found it was easiest to grab the leaves toward the base of the stem and pull. It’s ok if you get some of the smaller stems, but you want to avoid a lot of the larger ones.

I didn’t get pictures, but the easiest way to get the leaves off of the thyme and rosemary is to grab the tip of the stem and pull the leaves off moving from the tip to the base of the stem.

Chopping Parsley

I then put my parsley into my small food processor and gave it a few pulses to break up the leaves to make “flakes”. I processed both types of parsley this way, but left the rosemary and thyme as whole leaves.

Spice Jar

I’ve been looking for spice jars for a couple of weeks and found some super cute ones online, but they were much more expensive than these that I found in town. Not really “cute” but very practical and comes with a shaker top. I end up not using the shaker top most of the time and just pop them off. I was glad to have the option when I bought the jars, though.


I plan on making cuter labels for the jars, but this will work for now!


Turns out that I should have dried a lot more thyme than I did because those leaves really dry down! Luckily, I have more in my herb garden!


Joanne said...

This is very timely for me, because I planted some basil that has taken over everything! I need to dry some because there is NO WAY that I can use it all!

Sara said...

Good! I'm actually trying out some basil now. Let me know how yours turns out! I think I'll still use the food processor to make them into "flakes"...

Karen said...

Joanne - If you have that much maybe you can freeze some after drying it?