How to Dry Garden Herbs
It’s drying season as herbs and flowers reach their peak performance, bursting with fragrant blossoms, many going to seed as the garden cycle continues into the next phase.
There are a few ways that you can harvest and dry garden herbs, here are our favorites!
– Flowers and herbs can be picked or cut with the stem to be hung upside down in a well ventilated room away from direct sunlight. This process is ideal if you have large harvests.
– Dehydration is a method we use often throughout the earlier part of the season for delicate flowers, flower buds off the stems, and cuttings of herbs as the plant fully develops. We use the lowest heat possible on stackable dehydrator trays, flipping them half way through the drying process. This method is extremely helpful during the most humid parts of the summer season. We love the Excalibur Dehydrator! Read our article on all our favorite kitchen appliances to jump start your Ayurvedic Home Kitchen.
– The Paper Bag Method is something we use when camping or out on foraging trips. Flowers and herbs can be placed directly into a large paper bag, rolled closed and left in the hot car to essentially bake themselves to dryness. Some plants respond better to this than others. It is important not to overfill the bag to prevent mold. We generally transfer these plants to the dehydrator upon arrival home to finish the process.
– The Upside Down Flower Method is when we take the flower buds and put them face down on a drying rack, basket or anything air can pass through. This works well when humidity is not too high, and we have abundance of too many things to dry. We frequently dry excess calendula and marigolds successfully with this method.
After fully dry you can carefully remove any remaining stems or unwanted parts. Large clean glass jars are the best way to store dried plants. If you have access to amber colored or darker jars they are best, but otherwise clear jars can be kept in a dark cupboard for the winter season, away from direct or filtered sunlight.
What’s your favorite way to dry garden herbs?
One blend that is a must in our home is Naiyanna’s Herbs de Provence. She makes a big batch of this every fall with only home grown herbs. This is slightly different than the traditional blend, though delightful on roasted vegetables, in soups, or her personal favorite sourdough croutons.
Naiyanna’s Herbs de Provence
2 parts rosemary, savory, thyme, genovese basil, marjoram, lavender flowers, parsley, tarragon
1 part oregano, purple basil, sage
Mix together lightly, making sure all stems and hard parts of herbs are removed after drying. Enjoy!