How To Dry Your Herbs
By Anna Randall
Once you have your Sweet Valley herbs harvested for the season, you will need to figure out how you want to preserve them. Trying to pick them before the hot sun comes out is better as the herbs will not have had their new essential oils burned off. Washing is not usually necessary as most people grow their herbs organically and washing also removes some of the oils.
There are a few options for storing your herbs, like freezing, processing, and drying. In this article, I will explain how to successfully dry your herbs, so you get the most flavor from them throughout the winter months. When herbs are dried, they are safe from bacteria, mold, and yeast, and will remain potent for at least six to twelve months if stored properly.
To remove moisture, all you need is air circulation and some warmth can also help speed this process up.
Tie herbs and hang – leafy ends down – so that the essential oils in the stems will flow into the leaves.
To prevent dust from collecting on the drying leaves, place each bunch inside a paper bag before hanging. Gather the top of the bag and tie the herb stems so the leaves hang freely inside the bag. For ventilation, cut out the bottom of the bag or punch air holes in the sides.
Your Sweet Valley herbs are dried once they can easily be crumbled. I prefer to store my herbs whole on the stems in a paper bag then sealed in a ziplock bag. It is important to note that Whole leaves and seeds retain oils better in storage than crumbled herbs. Still, having some pre-mixed spice blends — such as those for Italian, Mexican or barbecue dishes — can be a big timesaver.