One of the benefits of growing fresh herbs is the ability to dry them for winter use. Herbs can be grown just about anywhere- they simply need soil, water & light. Most herbs require very little attention, which is an added benefit for those that find themselves with less than a green thumb- you will find they are very forgiving. Woody herbs, such as thyme, rosemary & savory I find are the easiest and the most adapt to neglect- they are also the best herbs to dry for winter storage. More delicate herbs; basil, parsley & chives require a little more attention to get going, once they are established you simply have to remember to cut them back once in a while before they go to seed.
Herbs are a fairly new addition to my garden- this was my third year with an established herb garden. I have no idea what I was waiting for, fresh herbs are amazing throughout the summer and are companions for several veggies throughout the garden, plus the added bonus of attracting many beneficial bugs. You will always find an arsenal of herbs and spices in our upper cabinet - spices can easily transform a blah dish to one that smells and tastes amazing. What better way to stock your spice jars for the upcoming winter months than drying your very own herbs straight from the garden, balcony or window sill.
Drying your own herbs also allows you creative freedom with your herb mixes- love oregano but not crazy about thyme; add more oregano to your jar and less thyme.
you will need
Variety of fresh herbs
thyme, rosemary, tarragon, summer or winter savory, oregano
Twine or String
Glass storage jars
Cut your fresh herbs, gather each herb into a bundle (its own individual bundle).
Cut a piece of garden twine or string long enough to tie one end of the bundle with enough length to secure to your drying rack/hook/area.
Taking one end of the twine, tie the cut end of the herb bundle- set aside and repeat with remaining bundles.
Select a location that is warm & dry (dark if possible). Hang each herb bundle upside down securing one end to a thumb tack, hook or other drying device. Alternatively you may lay the herbs flat across a screen that is propped on a drying rack (which allows the air to circulate under the herbs).
Allow herbs to dry a minimum of 1 week, hardier herbs such as rosemary may need up to 3 weeks to fully dry.
Once dry, simply remove the dried herbs from the woody stems into bowls. For a more rustic herb blend simply break the herbs up into smaller pieces with your fingers, if you prefer a finer herb blend, place the herbs in a small processor and process until you reach your desired consistency- I like this method especially for rosemary.
I like to arrange 1 bowl for each herb, this separates the herbs making it easier to create blends.