Drying Herbs

Home-dried Herbs: Mint, Lemon Balm, Rosemary and Sage

Home-dried Herbs: Mint, Lemon Balm, Rosemary and Sage

At the end of every summer I make the same vow, ‘next year I’m going to dry some herbs from the herb garden so that I can use them over the winter and don’t have to waste money buying the much inferior mass produced varieties’ and yet every year the season slips by and I end up adding those expensive little bottles to my shopping basket.

This year is different, this year I have already done one batch and have another hanging in the airing cupboard filling the air with their wonderful bouquet.

The thing that really annoys me though is how easy it was to do. I really wished I had done it years ago, not only will I save pounds off my shopping, but the aroma and taste are so much better!

Next batch is ready to go. Bay Leaves, Oregano, Lemon Verbena & Lavender

Next batch is ready to go. Bay Leaves, Oregano, Lemon Verbena & Lavender

All I did was collect a few bunches of herbs (best do this in dry weather). I then secured them with a rubber band, labelled them with a luggage label and hung them upside down from strategically placed hooks at the top of my airing cupboard, though any airy dark place will do, as long as it’s dry. Three weeks later the herbs were completely dry and ready to store in labelled jars.

To test whether they are ready, just scrunch a leaf or two between your fingers and if they crumble, then it’s time to store them. If you leave them too long drying you could end up with a flaky mess in your cupboard as the leaves begin to fall off themselves.

Next stage is to get a large bowl and place each bunch of leaves in it. Then pull off the dried leaves and rub them between your fingers until they are free of the stalks and the size you want for storage.

Herbs all ready for use this winter!

Herbs all ready for use this winter!

Place in dry sterilised jars and label carefully.  Remember, herbs keep better if you keep them relatively cool and out of the light, so it is best to store them in a dark cupboard.

So there you are… simples…

Note to self – plant more varieties of herbs for next year!

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