Let’s face it, dried herbs can be pricey at the store. You feel like you are paying an arm and a leg for a small container powder. If you grow your own herbs, you know that it hurts to let them go to waste, and there are only so many uses for fresh herbs. Have you ever wanted to preserve those wonderful herbs that you grew in your garden, by dehydrating them, but you didn’t know where to start? Well, you can absolutely dehydrate them yourself, and here is how.
First, prune your herb plant, and rinse off the springs that you want to dehydrate. Rinsing them well will remove any stuff that may be clinging to them. You can do this with a sprayer, or soak them in a vinegar/water bath.
Once you have rinsed them well, lay them out on a paper towel to let them dry completely. You don’t want them to have any moisture hanging on them when they go into the dehydrating process, so getting the pieces really dry now will be a huge help.
Once they are dry, you can begin the dehydrating process. You can either use a food dehydrator, or you can air dry them. Either way is going to yield the same result, the time will just vary. It really is just a matter of preference, and one way isn’t necessarily better than the other.
If you use the dehydrator, lay the stalks out on the tray with a little space between them. You don’t want them to overlap. Set the temp to around 95 degrees and let it run for 6-8 hours. You don’t want it cooked, you just want it dried out.
If you hang the herbs to dry, this will take several days, but it’s easy as well. Just bundle some stalks together, tie them with twine, and hang upside down. You can do this outdoors, on a sun porch, or in your fireplace. Outside can be a problem b/c bugs or other animals might be drawn to them and eat them! This is why most people prefer indoors for air drying. In the winter months, you definitely want to dry indoors just because the weather can be so unpredictable and the temperature is not ideal for air drying.
Once the herbs are dried, you can store them in their bundles in baggies, or coarsely chop them, or grind them to a powder and put in airtight containers. Dried herb bundles also make lovely decorations, and have a beautiful fragrance!! You could also gift some of your dried herbs to friends and family in sachets or spice bundles for cooking. It would make a special present for someone who loves to cook.
You can use your dried herbs just like you would use ones purchased at the store. They can be used in cooking, baking, herbal teas, and even for medicinal purposes. Dehydrating your herbs isn’t hard at all. It is an economical and easy way to prevent wasting some of the herbs you have grown.