How to Dry Herbs
Some of the things I've learned about how to dry herbs in the spring and summer. I love seeking out unusual varietals like caraway thyme, pineapple sage, fresh coriander. At the market, some will appear for a week or two, then aren't seen again for another year.
This is the time of year I find myself drying herbs. In part, it's because I tend to come across special, unusual varietals in the spring and late into summer - caraway thyme, pineapple sage, fresh coriander. Some will appear for a week or two, then aren't seen again for another year. Other times, it is the herb flowers that get me - I like to use them throughout the year, and the one way to guarantee a supply is to dry them. It couldn't be simpler, so I thought I'd share my method for those of you who may have missed it the last time I wrote about it.
Group Herbs into Small Bunches
I tend to group any herbs I'm going to dry into small bunches. Leaves are stripped from the bottom few inches of each stem, and a bit of twine secures each bundle. A push pin or strip of washi tape is typically enough to secure the herbs anywhere high and dry - walls, bookcases, fireplace mantles, cabinet knobs, and the like are all fair game around here.
Leave a few inches of extra string when you tie the herbs to dry them. The stems will become dehydrated, and lose a bit of volume. The extra string will allow you to re-tie the herbs more snuggly if needed without starting over. Kelly left a comment below that caught my attention, "I use rubber bands (recycled from foods like asparagus or carrots that come banded together) instead of twine. That was the rubber band contracts as the herbs dry and i don’t have to adjust the twine or clean herbs off the floor!" I haven't tested it yet, but it sounds like a winner.
To dry chive flowers, you'll want to trim them from their stems and place on a flat surface for a week or so. Toss every couple of days so that all sides are exposed to air.
How to Store Dried Herbs
Be sure your herbs are completely dried before transferring them to a sealed container. Any moisture can result in mold. Store in a cool dark place. Also, after a few days of drying, your herb bundles will contract a bit from dehydration. Per the tip above, you may need to tighten the twine a bit.
Let me know if you have favorite herbs I should try to seek out. I love the offbeat, slightly unexpected thymes, sages, and lavenders. I'm sure there there are others I should know about as well!
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I never knew it was that easy! I recently bought like 2 pounds of parsley so I had to power through it so it wouldn't wilt before I could finish it, lol. Nothing get's wasted in my kitchen!
Every year I think of drying herbs but never end up doing. I'm determined to do these year. Thank you for the wonderful tips.
Dried herbs, hooray! I have a handful of homegrown mint bunches drying right now, and an oregano plant that could absolutely use some trimming besides. Yay!
There is something so romantic about dried herb bundles hanging about the house. I'm excited to try the dried chive flowers!
I love drying roses and I use a very similar method. Dried herbs would look beautiful in the kitchen. Thank you for the inspiration. I love everything you post!
Sage is amazing dried. In Palestine we put some sprigs of dried sage in with some black tea (like Earl Grey). You can add sugar if you like because it's quite a sweet combination. It's great after a meal because it really helps smooth your stomach and aid digestion. We dry it by sticking it on a tray and leaving by a sunny window for a week or so, turning every few days.
Last year I found a rose-scented thyme at a local garden fair. It's become my favorite and I try to keep the plant healthy because I haven't seen it anywhere before or since. As for chive blossoms, I like soaking them in jars of champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar for several weeks to make a delicious (and pretty pink) flavored vinegar. They're also delicious fresh in salads, but my all-time favorite use for chive blossoms is to make flavored salt. Throw the fresh blossoms in the food processor with some sea salt and process until they're finely chopped and mixed with the salt, then let dry on a sheet pan. The salt is absolutely divine on hard boiled eggs and the vinegar brings a unique touch to deviled eggs, but they both go well with just about anything.
I love drying herbs, such a feeling of satisfaction being able to use herbs from the garden throughout the winter. I slacked off last fall and didn't do as much as I could have, and I've been regretting it all winter. I won't make that mistake again this year!
Hi Heidi, We eat chive flowers in Vietnam (stir-fried, in a soup, etc.) but only when they are still unopened buds. I kept them once or twice in a small vase as some kind of real flowers in the house and they were beautiful when they were fully open, but I don't believe I've ever seen them in this lovely lavender shade (only white). I'll try next week and see if they will change colour if I wait for long enough :'). I'm not sure they can be dried unopened, no? Thank you for sharing.
What do you use the chive flowers for? Drying them sounds lovely.... They are beautiful!
Hi Karen, I sprinkle them on many things! Over eggs, salads, rice bowls, even tacos!
I use rubber bands (recycled from foods like asparagus or carrots that come banded together) instead of twine. That was the rubber band contracts as the herbs dry and i don't have to adjust the twine or clean herbs off the floor!
what a timely post! a friend gave me a potted herb garden as a gift and i'd like to dry some of the herbs; namely marjoram. do you have any ideas for use of that herb? (fresh or dry)
I was just imagining how lovely your home must smell right now!
I'm too lazy to twine them together, I just toss my herbs in paper bags. What are your favorite herbs to dry?
I have a hard time if I don't dry some DWARF GREEK OREGANO each year, it's SO delicious !
Hi Heidi, I expect you have tried it but there is an Aussie herb called lemon myrtle, similar to lemon verbena, which makes wonderful tea, but also a great combo in a spice rub, healing broth or divine in a jelly. Herb flowers are such a lovely way to enjoy the whole cycle of the plant. Or just feel better about not wasting your herbs when they bolt!
Heidi, We have an abundance of sage in our garden with few ideas of how to best utilize it. Is sage good for drying?
I love drying my own herbs too! Just this morning I went out to find some nettles to dry as they're one of my favorites and tend to be best around here at this time of year while still young and tender.
Every year I vow to do this! You've inspired me to actually give it a try. Any suggestions for a high-humidity area?
I love this post and the idea to secure those little bundles with washi tape. So thanks for this. What do you use chive flowers for? Just for decoration?