Fresh herbs and spices from a summer garden can compliment any meal. When the growing season is over, dry your herbs so you can use them throughout the winter. Once you have dried your herbs, store them appropriately to maintain freshness so they retain their flavor for up to a year.
Check to make sure the herbs and spices are dry. The leaves and stems should be dry to the touch and crumble or separate when you rub them together. If herbs and spices are stored while they still contain moisture, they may mold and become unusable.
Store dried herbs and spices in dark-tinted bottles or jars. Exposure to light will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor. Make sure the bottles and jars have lids that fit tight and are secure.
Identify herbs with labels before you store them. Put labels on each container to identify what is inside. You may think that you can identify herbs or spices by their smell, but scents can change over time and many herbs and spices look and smell similar.
Store herbs and spices away from water and heat sources. Water from sinks and dishwashers add humidity to the air, and this moisture can damage herbs and spices. Heat from stoves can be a problem too, since they may become overly dry and can lose their flavor.
Store bulk herbs and spices inside airtight containers in the freezer. If you have too much of an herb or spice, store the excess amount in the freezer until it is needed. Do not store containers in the refrigerator, as this will place them in an overly humid environment.