Drying Fresh Herbs

Something interesting about herbs is that they should be picked early in the morning, after the dew has dissolved and before the sun get too hot. All herbs need cleaning before drying or storing and. the best way to accomplish that is to place the herbs under running water and then lay on paper towels to drain off any of the excess water.

There are various ways to store fresh herbs here are five different methods.

The easiest and favorite technique is to air dry them and you can tie together a few stems or a bunch and hang them upside down in a warm (70-80 F degrees) don't ever places in direct sun light. This method should only take the herbs to dry in 2 to 4 weeks. You will recognize that the herbs are dry when the stems become brittle and break. After drying, the herbs remove leaves by crumbling, crush or if you prefer leave whole but you need to store them in airtight jars in a dry cool area. Make sure that the herbs are totally dried or they could form mold and if mold does appear, throw the herb away.

You can also freeze some herbs and they are basil, chives, mints, tarragon, and parsley. These herbs need to be free of dirt as ever other method we will profile here. The herbs should be blanched in boiling water, 1-2 minutes, cool promptly in cold water, then dry. You need to place the herbs in the freezer on a cookie sheet uncovered for a 1-2 hour. Next, remove herbs from freezer and tightly seal in freezer bags, labeling them will help when you go to use them. The freezer method does not recommend using frozen herbs as a garnish they tend to wilt when thawed. You can chop, blend or puree with small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays and later use as flavoring for sauces, soups etc.

Microwave ovens are another way to dry herbs. (Microwave ovens vary in temperature and time so experiment in small doses, to accomplish your particular drying time) Place paper towel in bottom of microwave, place herbs on top of paper towel and then cover with another paper towel. Use High setting and dry them for 1-3 minutes. Remove let cool, store.

Drying herbs in an electric or gas stove is another method. A cookie sheet or shallow baking sheet will be required, spread one layer of leaves or stems in pan. Place in warm oven for approximately 3-4 hours no higher that 180 F degrees leave door open. Check them until they are totally dried.

Another old method that has been past down is Salting. It is recommended that you use a wide mouth crock for easy access. You use coarse sea salt and layer the herbs on top of the coarse sea salt, herbs, sea salt etc. The top layer should be ½ inch deep of salt. The herbs should be removed from the crock and shaken gently or you could rinse in warm water to remove any remaining salt before using. If you decide to save the salt, you can use it for seasoning because the salt will take on the flavoring of the herbs.

Dill, Caraway and coriander are dried for their seeds. Just before the seed head turns brown, harvest them; this is done so the seeds will not fall off while cutting. Next, cut off the head and place in a paper bag, then place in a warm and dry area. Once dried, shake the seeds loose in the bag. Store in airtight jar.

All herbs should be stored in either green, amber glass jars that will block light and make sure they are airtight containers. Check for moisture after a week to ensure that there is no sign of moisture, re-dry if need be. Labeling is a necessity because if you have dried them correctly you will not be able to tell them apart when you go to use them.

There are so many uses for your herbs from, making butter, to use for flavoring soups and sauces, herb vinegar's, herb mustard, and potpourri so how about drying some.

Dried Herbs should not be kept for more than one year.

A list for what to uses your Herbs with.  

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