Dehydrating and Drying homegrown herbs


My herb beds have done well this year. I'm really pleased with what I've been able to harvest, use and preserve so far. 

I got a great harvest of chives last month, when they were at their best, I froze some and kept some in the fridge for using. I also dried some to use in cooking. 

This month I'm focusing on harvesting the rest of the herbs before they go past their best. I want to harvest enough to last us all winter through to next spring when they start growing again. To preserve the herbs I usually dry them or dehydrate them, depending on which herb. Chives are the only herb I sometimes freeze. 

Some herbs I tie into bunches and hang to dry, some I put into organza bags to dry. The reason I use organza bags for some, rather than in cut bunches, is so that the leaves don't drop off and make a mess everywhere. Thyme and rosemary can sometimes do this. I also dry bay leaves in bags or open jars. The bags I use allow air flow and let the herbs dry naturally. 

I rarely use my dehydrator to dry herbs, it is a waste of electric as herbs don't take long to dry and do well air drying. The only time I would ever use the dehydrator for herbs is if it was damp and cold for a long period of time. 

Pineapple Sage and Oregano, as you can see in the photo above, I dry in bunches hung up in the kitchen. Some people don't like to harvest and use Oregano when it starts to flower are the flavour changes slightly, we don't mind as we still enjoy it. 

Once fully dry I crush them and keep some separate for using individually and mix some up for a batch of 'mixed herbs' We use a lot of herbs in cooking, both fresh when in season and dried. Homegrown herbs have an amazing flavour and are well worth growing. 


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