by Sue Adams
Using a Dehydrator
This method is fast and protects against possible mold.
Wash herbs lightly in cold running water. Drain thoroughly on absorbent towels or hang plants upside down until the water evaporates. Place the branches or leaves in a single layer on the racks that come with the unit. Follow directions for your dehydrator.
Natural Air Drying
Choose a dark place where the temperature is at least 50 degrees F. and the humidity is low.
- Remove the bottom leaves along the bottom inch of the stem.
- Bundle 4 to 6 branches together, using string or a rubber band. The herb will shrink as it dries, so check periodically to make sure the branches are not slipping out of the bundle.
- Punch several holes in a labeled paper bag and place the herb bundle upside down in the bag. Gather the ends of the bag around the bundle and tie closed, making sure the herbs are not crowded. Putting the herbs in bag will help keep out dust.
- Choose a dark, well ventilated, dust-free area (although the bags will help keep out dust and other surprises).
- Check to see how the drying is progressing. Leaves are ready when they are dry and crumbly, in about 1-2 weeks.
Use low heat (less than 180 degrees). Spread leaves on a cookie sheet for 2 to 4 hours. Leaves are ready when they are dry and crumbly.
Place the leaves on a paper towel and microwave for 1 to 3 minutes, tossing and flipping them every 30 seconds. When completely dry, leaves may be crushed (I use a food processor) or stored whole in airtight containers (canning jars, for example). Check daily for moisture – if you see any, repeat the drying process. Herbs will mold quickly if exposed to moisture. Store them in a cool, dry place away from light.