How To Dry And Preserve Herbs
Learn how to dry and preserve herbs at home. It is an easy, and even enjoyable task, which can be done as a weekend project. Especially with access to an herb garden, drying and preserving herbs is an inexpensive and practical way to have the herbs you love to use, stored in the kitchen cupboard all year round.
To dry and preserve herbs, you will need:
- Scissors or a sharp knife
- Metal wire rack for drying
- Airtight containers for storage
- Cut the aerial parts with scissors or a sharp knife. You can dry and preserve the leaves, flowers, and in some cases even the stems of the herbs.
- Strip the leaves and flowers from stems. This can be done by hand. Be careful not to tear.
- Lay herbs on a metal wire rack to dry. Spread out in a loose, single layer. For efficient drying, keep the herbs in a warm, even sunlit, well-ventilated room. Open the windows for fresh air.
- Before storing, allow the herbs to dry until brittle. This can take from two hours to all day, depending on the plant. Check frequently, turning periodically.
- When completely dry, preserve herbs in airtight containers. Do not use plastics, or paper bags, as these materials can leech some of the medicinal compounds, particularly volatile oils. Glazed ceramic, dark glass, and metal containers, with tight-fitting lids, work the best. Be gentle when transferring the dried herbs to their storage containers, as they can easily break.
Whether gathering herbs for cooking, or to make healing herbal infusions, learning how to dry and preserve herbs is a great way to utilize nature's medicinal arsenal. Peppermint for digestive problems, chamomile to ease stress and tension, red clover to treat skin conditions, herbs are endlessly beneficial. Creating a personal storage of do-it-yourself medicinal plants will help you learn about both the simplicity and the value of natural herbs.