How to Dry Herbs

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How to Dry Herbs - Provided by eHow
When drying herbs, remember that any herb with small leaves or woody stems should not be dried in the stove, but rather by hanging them up. Dry herbs naturally, with drying trays or by hanging them up with tips from an experienced gardener in this free... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda from In this segment, we're going to learn about how to dry herbs. Now there's many different methods to drying herbs and pretty much any way that you can dry anything else, you can dry an herb. But there's a few rules that you should follow. From my experience, any herb that has small leaves and woody stems like this little thyme here, is better to dry not by the stove, so its better to dry that by taking some of the sprigs, tying them together and just hanging them up. And that way they'll just dry naturally and they don't even fall apart very easily. You can also put them right into a paper bag and they'll dry really well. Or you can hang them upside down as I said, or you can hang them on drying trays too, just metal trays or plastic trays or anywhere where they can sit and dry. You can put them out in the sun or leave them in the closet, it doesn't really matter. So another easy way to dry plants like thyme that are a little bit woody that have smaller greenery on it is just to dry it right in the oven. So its easy to do, you just do one layer in your container or right onto a pan. OK, wait till it's the driest point of the day so the best time to cut is late morning or before, once the dew has dried so you don't want to cut them when they're really, really wet. And keep the oven on the lowest temperature, so don't put it very warm at all. And then you just can put one layer and put it right into the oven and keep watching it so don't walk away for very long because that will burn right up if you leave it for 10 or 20 minutes. Then it only takes about 5 minutes on low heat for that to dry. Once its dry you can put it right in to a paper bag or right into a plastic container or right into a glass jar and use it for the rest of the year. And most herbs will last for up to a year once you dry them so its wonderful. And another easy trick that I've learned recently too with my herbs is to throw them right into the freezer. Cut them at the best point and they look lush and green after they've bloomed and just throw them right into a bag and put them right in the freezer. And they'll freeze just like they are fresh and you can use them for about to 6 months and they'll taste great. All they'll just be like any other fresh vegetable or fresh herb and you can use them right in your cooking. So when you're trying to dry more leafy type herbs like cilantro or basil, a lot of times just air drying them doesn't work because they start curling up and not looking that great or even in the oven is a little more difficult to do because they just kind of curl up to nothing. But an easy trick too with pretty much any herb you can dry them right in the microwave. So the trick is to grab some and put it in between some napkins or paper towels and make sure that you have it on both sides and you just run it for just a few seconds. It doesn't take very long at all. And so you just keep checking them too. Always run about maybe 10 seconds to start, not too much longer because it could start a fire if you leave them for very long. And you'll see that this is already probably halfway dry. So I just keep checking them. They kind of smell like they're burning but in the end you'll have dried cilantro that you can add to your dishes all winter long. And I do it with basil too and I've done it with my mint too and it works really, really well. And once its done, its almost dried now, this keeps its color and everything. This is completely dry and it looks totally fresh. Look at that. So the microwave is really an easy way to dry any kind of a leafy herb. So drying herbs is just like drying any other plants or seeds. And its really easy to do and whether you do it in the air, in the microwave or in the stove, always check your herbs all the time, never let them sit for too long and that way you can save them and enjoy them for the rest of the year.