All About Herbs
Bland is banned from your kitchen when you have your favorite dried herbs on hand. We’re about to share with you how to dry and store herbs so you always have a “pinch of this” and “dash of that” ready for every dish.
And it’s important to note, some herbs are easier to dry than others. For example, since they’re sturdier and low-moisture, rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley are the easiest to dry using any of the below methods. More tender-leaf herbs, like basil, oregano, tarragon and mint, are higher in moisture - so the microwave, oven or dehydrator will be their best friend. If you’re interested in growing any of these herbs yourself, be sure to dig into Growing Food from Your Garden.
How to Dry Herbs
There are multiple avenues to achieve dried herb perfection. Depending on what tools you have around or how quickly you need the herbs dried, one of these methods will be the sage way to get the dried herbs you’re striving for.
- Tie your sprigs or branches into small bunches (keep small to avoid mold); wrap them loosely in thin paper bags to keep dust off; hang the bunches with the leaves facing down.
- Dry them 7-10 days, depending on the size of the branches and humidity. You’ll know they’re completely dry by doing the crush test: Crush some of the leaves up, and if they crumble apart easily, they’re ready.
- Remove the leaves from the stems and lay them on a rack or tray (preferably somewhere dark, avoiding dusty areas). The dry time and crush test from the hang drying directions apply here, too.
- Remove the leaves from the stems and wash the parts you’re keeping. Once the greens are no longer wet, microwave between 2 paper towels for 1 minute. Continue to microwave in 30-second intervals if needed.
- If you have a dehydrator at home, you can dry your herbs in bulk (mesh inserts are a plus because they keep the leaves from falling).
- Clean the leaves and put them in a single layer on each tray. Cook on the lowest setting for 2-4 hours. Remove the herbs from the trays over a bowl to save broken pieces.
- Put a muslin cloth or cheesecloth on a baking pan, and add the leaves to it. Set your oven to its lowest temperature and keep the leaves in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then employ the crush test.
How to Store Dried Herbs
- A glass bottle or jelly jar is the best way to store your dried herbs (an airtight plastic container works, too). If the container is clear, store it in a dark place so the herbs don’t lose their color.
- You can store the whole leaf or crush it with your fingers (discarding the hard leafstalks and midribs). Keeping the leaves whole provides a bit more fragrance when you crush them for each use.
Be sure to shop our selection of fresh herbs and check out our blog for more seasonal recipes, cooking tips and more.