Drying Herbs – A Guide to Selecting & Storing & Using Dried Herbs for All Seasons

Herbs can quickly go to waste in any home. Try drying your herbs instead of allowing a harvest or grocery store bundle to perish in your fridge crisper drawer.

Utilize airtight, dark containers (small canning jars or zippered plastic bags). Mark these with the name and date of each herb to keep it fresh longer.


Hanging herbs for winter use is the easiest and quickest way to dry them quickly and efficiently. Gather three to six sprigs together, tie them with string, twine, or rubber band, and hang them in a warm, dark location away from direct sunlight (the sun depletes color, fragrance, and flavor). Allow herbs to dry thoroughly for one week, but check regularly and remove any that wilt or crumble as soon as they appear wilted or crumbly.

For easier drying of herb leaves for their seeds, place a paper bag over them; this allows the seeds to drop directly into it as your plant dries out. You could also opt for using a metal hanging basket as another means.

For a faster method, herbs may be placed on a baking sheet and put in a slow oven set at 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. To check moisture, squeeze one between your thumb and finger; it should crunch or crumble when compressed between thumb and finger.

Once herbs have been thoroughly dried, they should be stored in an airtight container such as a canning jar to ensure maximum freshness and potency over time. Glass containers provide optimal storage conditions as they block out light; plastic lids or bags also work effectively. Herbs will stay fresh for one or more years without experiencing a significant decrease in effectiveness over time.

Herbs used in raw preparations such as salads, salsas, dips, and fruit mixes should be added early so the flavors have time to combine before being served. Dried basil, dill, and parsley add freshness that commercial herbs cannot replicate.

Cooking generally calls for three parts: dried herbs and, in every one part, fresh herbs. However, it always tastes as you go to determine how you prefer your dish. Each herb’s potency may differ, so always test to ensure fresh and flavorful herbs before including them in any cooked recipe.


No matter if you grow your own herbs or purchase them from the supermarket or farmer’s market, at some point, you’ll need to preserve some for later use. While prepackaged, uniformly minced jars from stores may seem easier and cost-cutting, you could save yourself both money and disappointment by doing it yourself and producing better-tasting dried herbs!

To preserve herbs, you need a clean space with good air circulation and access to an appliance like a dehydrator or oven. Sun drying may also work but will take longer. Whichever method you select, ensure the herbs are thoroughly dried before beginning and remove any extra moisture that might lead to mold or mildew during drying. Gently pat them dry before beginning, as any excess moisture could lead to mold or mildew growth during drying.

Leafy herbs should generally be harvested for drying during spring when their buds first open but before flowers develop and sap their essential oils. Harvesting these plants early in the morning when the dew evaporates before the rain begins falling would help.

Once your herbs have been thoroughly dried, they should be stored in an excellent, dark location to extend their freshness for up to one year. You can also consider freezing them to maintain quality for even longer.

Before using herbs in any recipe, always ensure they are powerful by rubbing a small piece between your fingers and inhaling its fragrance. If it smells potent and fragrant, that indicates its potency; otherwise, you may require additional additions for optimal use.

Making herb tea requires lightly crushing the herbs with a mortar and pestle for maximum flavor, or you may leave them whole to achieve more subtle effects. Herbs can also be added directly into cooking with other dishes like soups, stews, salad dressing, baked goods, and vegetable dishes – not forgetting beverages such as herbal tea and some alcoholic drinks! To store dried herbs safely, it’s recommended that they be stored in airtight containers with tight-fitting lids; this prevents moisture or light damage and degradation of their contents over time.


Fresh herbs add delicious flavors without adding salt, sugar, or fat. Herbs can add vibrant flair to salads, sorbets, beverages, and other dishes without salting the food with sodium chloride or fattening with added oils or fats. Herbs also help vegetables retain their flavors during periods when growth is slower, keeping your summer garden tasting great! Gardeners typically plant herb plants interspersed between their vegetable crops, containers, or window boxes – providing pollinators and beneficial insects and adding visual contrast to their garden space! Herbs attract pollinator populations while deterring deer from browsing deer, providing visual interest and adding visual contrast between plants and crops, which makes gardening an enjoyable and visually engaging experience!

Drying and storing herbs is an efficient and effortless way to preserve their rich flavors during the winter when fresh supplies may become limited or unavailable. It is an easy process you can complete at home, working well for most woody stemmed and leafy herbs like thyme, oregano, sage, and parsley – it may even work for other varieties such as chives, tarragon or even flowers such as yarrow and baby’s breath!

Collect the herb sprigs or cuttings that need preserving, discarding any damaged or diseased ones. Rinse gently under cold water to get rid of bugs or dirt hitchhiking. Wet leaves or stems will mold quickly, so choose an excellent, dark space to hang the herbs for drying.

Bind your herbs together using twine, twist ties, or rubber bands before hanging them upside down in a dark place with air circulation (but out of direct sunlight, which would deplete color, fragrance, and flavor), such as a basement, attic, or well-ventilated closet. Leaves that haven’t dried completely will turn brown and crumble when you rub them between your fingers; once this occurs, they are ready to store away for later.

Once dried, herbs should be stored in a spice cabinet or resealable plastic bags for optimal storage. They will retain their flavors and aromas for approximately three months in the cupboard or up to one year when stored in the fridge; tight-fitting lid jars offer the most optimal method because this helps preserve each herb’s oils and aromatic properties.


Herbs add flavor, aroma, and medicinal benefits to food year-round, but how do you keep their fresh flavors alive once the growing season has ended? One effective solution is drying herbs, which allows the nutrients and flavors of fresh herbs to remain intact for use in future dishes.

The first step to drying herbs is harvesting them at their growth peak to ensure maximum flavor and fragrance. Next, gently swish your harvested herbs under cool water to remove dirt or bugs from leaves or stems before patting them dry with a clean cloth or towel.

Once the herb has been dried, store it in an airtight container—such as an old spice bottle, Mason jar, or Tupperware container—to preserve its flavor for up to one year.

Freezing herbs, whether whole or chopped, is another effective method for preserving them. To freeze whole leaves, place them in a freezer wrap or an airtight container before putting them in the freezer; when ready to use them, remove them from the freezer and thaw them in the refrigerator or room temperature before refreezing in a fridge/room temperature environment. Dice can be packed into ice cube trays filled with either water or olive oil for quick and easy inclusion in soups, stews, and sauces.

Freezing, such as sage and oregano, can also effectively preserve herbs that do not respond well to drying. Although their flavor won’t match that of dried herbs, frozen herbs still retain some intensity that adds depth to dishes. Finally, herbal infusions provide another preservation method. Steeping fresh herbs in water or oils to produce herb-infused vinegar or oils is ideal for preserving delicate flavors that don’t fare well during drying or for making delicious butter and salad dressings!

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