Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to Dry Herbs ~ As Promised

Drying herbs is a great way to have fun and save money. It is also a great way to know exactly where your food is coming from and what is in it, which is so important. Here are some simple instructions for drying herbs and as always, if you have questions please leave a comment or contact me and I would be glad to elaborate!

You, first, want to decide what type of herbs you are trying to dry. Are they wet herbs or dry herbs? Deciding what herbs are high or low moisture content (HMC or LMC) can be tricky but looking it up is very easy. This will decide on how you grow, dry and store the herbs when ready.

Some of the most commonly grown herbs:
HMC: basil, chives, mint and tarragon
LMC: bay, thyme, savory, marjoram, oregano and rosemary

Supplies: strong scissors, string (cotton ties well), hanger and clothespins, paper bags, open and vantalated space to hang for two weeks that will allow the herbs to not be damaged or soiled

Before you cut the herb from the plant, make sure to have all of your supplies gathered andready. The herbs should be hanging as soon as possible once cut.

When ready to dry cut from plant and remove the dead leaves. Make sure to remove spider webs, insects and drit, shake or lightly rinse patting dry with paper towle. Leave at least onve inch of stem at end of stalk. Bundle like herbs together and tie with string, being careful not to over bundle. For HMC herbs tie less together and hang farther apart. Larger bundles can be made form LMC herbs, but allow for each bundle to dry without touching another one. An ince or two is great spacing. Hang the herbs upside down and use excess string to tie to hangers or rack. Expect to hang for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, inspect carefully for mold, dust, etc. If moldy toss immideately. Store good herbs in intact stalks in air tight containers until you are ready to use, then strip the leaves you need and crush with your palms. DO NOT FORGET to lable and date your containers!

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