Part of the benefits in having your own herb garden is that you have the option of learning how to dry your own herbs and store them for future use, which saves both time and money. There are a number of methods to drying your own herbs that you can try-- some herbs even being better suited to some methods over others. Here, we’ve outlined some of the most simple methods so you can get started.
One of the easiest ways to air-dry herbs is by hanging them. Bundle herbs together with a in bunches of four to six. Then, take a brown paper bag and poke small holes throughout and place your bundle upside down in the paper bag with the stems poking out of the top. Hang in a dark area about room temperature for about two to four weeks until they’re fully dehydrated. This method is best for herbs that have a low moisture content like sage, rosemary, marjoram, bay leaves, thyme, and dill.
To oven dry, place your herbs on baking trays and warm at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for about three to four hours with the oven door open. Alternatively, you can microwave them on a paper towel for a total of one to three minutes with 30 second intervals to turn them over. Though these methods are faster, they can sometimes zap some of the oil and flavor from your herbs. It’s really best suited to herbs like basil, tarragon, oregano, and mint
There are three ways you can freeze dry: 1) Placing herbs in plastic bags or containers and sticking them in the freezer; 2) Spreading them out on a baking tray to freeze and then storing them in plastic bags; and 3) Packing herb leaves into ice-cube trays with water. You can use these methods with any sort of herb, though once they’ve been dried this way, they’ll be better suited for cooking than garnishing.
Regardless of the method you choose, drying your own herbs will significantly extend the use and benefit of your herb garden.