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How To Dry Herbs

>28 December 2010
 
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how to dry herbs

Can you believe all of this beautiful fresh parsley was headed for the garbage?! The grocery store was just going to toss it out. What is wrong with people?!

Thank goodness my friend rescued them from a trip to the landfill, and brought them to me instead.

Here’s how to dry herbs without a dehydrator to preserve them for future uses. I’m working with parsley, but you can hang dry any herbs that grow on a stem like this.

First, I picked out any slimy, bad stalks. Then I put them together in small bunches and used a twisty tie to secure them.

To keep the dust from settling on my drying herbs, I put each bunch into a paper bag with the open side of the bag facing down.

I poked a hole in the bottom of the bag, and fed the stalks through.

how to dry herbs

Next, I tied together two shoe laces and strung the herbs up over my bar to dry. It’s called improvising people. It’s not pretty. But it works! About two weeks later I got around to taking them down. Beautifully dry.

I stored them in a half gallon mason jar. I love the way dried foods look in glass containers! This outta last me a while. Be sure to label your jar with contents and date.

And to think, somebody was gonna throw them away. Sheesh!

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16 Comments »

  • Beth said:

    Brilliant idea! How long will herbs last in these jars?

  • tarena said:

    love it!
    love that line too about it not looking pretty-too funny!
    dried food looks amazing in jars!!!

  • Mona @ Healthy Homesteading said:

    The paper bag idea is cool. Can you do this with other herbs?

  • Save the Canning Jars said:

    I dried parsley in November (from my garden) and after bunching them, I clothes-pinned the bunches to my clothes rack/drying stand thingy (you know, one of those racks that folds out into a stand that you put by the fire to drip dry your clothes on?). I think that Parsley can also be dried in a dehydrator on the low setting. I like your idea of covering them with a paper bag to keep dust from settling on them (or in our case…CAT HAIR!) Great job!

    PS: Parsley is soooo easy to grow and very nice fresh on salads. Readers, consider growing it in next years garden!

  • Dana said:

    Its amazing what people will throw away. Just this past week a cousin called me and asked me if I was interested in any cast offs. She told me what she was offering I of course said yes!! It turns out that one of the local food suppliers throws out anything that is not sold by the close of business on Fridays. This cousin is volunteering there and asked that if they were just going to through it all away could they perhaps take it, they told them to take what ever they wanted, so they took it all. They sent me home with a truck load of stuff, I was able to share wtih my parents, my brother, my grandparents and still have plenty of stuff for us. Most of it is baked goods but there were fresh veggies as well. And it was all going to be thrown away!! Now I have free garlic bread, free bake and serve baguettes in my freezer, the free bagels we are eating up now, as well as bags of free salad mix. Never look a gift horse in the mouth as they say!!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Beth,

    As long as the herbs are kept in a somewhat cool, moisture free place, and were dried properly to begin with, they will last for a very, very long time.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Mona,

    YES! You can do this with basically any herb that you can tie up in bunches like this.

  • DeNiece said:

    Neat idea….I have to try this in my home too. Have you try to dry any other herb using this method. Can you tell me some good ones to try.

  • Karen said:

    Hi Kendra, I dried parsley, basil, and dill using the same method. Basil took a little longer to dry. Just make sure your herbs are really good and dry before putting in your jars.

  • Rachel said:

    I’m super impressed your friend rescued them for you. I had a somewhat similiar incident last year. My local supermarket had these plastic clamshell cases of herbs originally $5.99 marked down to .39 cents! What??? These were huge packages and to make it better I had some of those coupons that were $x of dollars off your next purchase. So I bought all they had and took them home and dried them in the dehydrator. I must say that the dill lost it’s flavor, but the parsley, oregeno, thyme and marjoram are all still going strong. They too are stored in mason jars which I agree with you, are beautiful! thanks for sharing.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    DeNiece,

    These were the first herbs I’ve dried like this :)

  • Lanna said:

    Moisture and light are the enemies of dehydrated food. Keep ‘em safe from that (and of course critters), and you should be good for a while.

    I’ve got 2yo parsley in my pantry still, along with 2yo or 3yo dried stevia leaves. I do go a step further though and take the leaves off the stems before drying (I use my dehydrator, quick and easy), then as I’m dumping the herbs into whatever jar I’m using, I’ll squish them up so they’re ready for cooking when I yank them out. Saves me the prep later on, which I know isn’t a concern for folks (but me? with the four kids underfoot? it’s a concern).

  • Julie Romagnoli said:

    A friend of mine dried oregano in a closed paper bag that just sat in his driveway for a couple of days with the sun shining. The oregano retained it’s natural color (didn’t darken) and all of it’s natural flavor. :-)

  • Renae said:

    LOVE THIS!!! I HAD an herb garden but couldn’t keep up with eating just trying to eat fresh and just let it all die back. Now I know how to dry, so I’m going to plant some more! THANKS! And I’m going to try to find a source locally that I might get some cast-offs!

  • Mdpowell said:

    Do you wash them before hand?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Mdpowell,

    If you mulch well around the plants, you probably won’t have too much dirt splashing up on them. You can rinse them if you’d like, and spin them in a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible before drying.

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