Of all the different types of foods and ways to preserve them, from pickling and curing to freezing or canning fruits and vegetables, making cheese and yogurt, drying your own herbs is probably the simplest thing to do. Most contain very little moisture, so it takes little effort after you’ve harvested them from your garden.
If you’ve ever taken a tour through a historic home, odds are, if it was authentic, there were bundles of herbs hanging from ceiling beams in the kitchen. That’s because it was once quite common for most houses to have some type of kitchen garden. Even if it was very small, those gardens almost always included herbs, for both medicinal and culinary purposes. While they were generally available at apothecaries, many houses in the 18th, 19th and the early 20th centuries, had a budget that was way too tight to allow for buying herbs that could easily be grown in their own yards for free.
Drying herbs is cheaper and you’ll get better quality too…
Drying herbs allow one to save money, as they demand a high price at the supermarket, and you get the best quality herbs at the same time.
Drying herbs is significantly cheaper than picking up a bag or bottle at the store, especially if you grow them in your own garden. While it does take a little time and effort to harvest them and hang them to dry, it’s really not much more than what it would take for you to drive to the market, buy the herbs and drive back again. By growing your own perennial herbs, you’ll have just a one-time expense, but will be able to enjoy a fresh supply of homegrown herbs for many years to come.
When you buy your herbs at the grocery store, you probably have no real way of knowing how fresh and how high quality they really are. That’s something you don’t have to worry about when growing your own herbs and drying them yourself. And, while you’ll be paying a premium price, you’re more likely to get all of those twig fragments mixed in. Plus, if they aren’t organic, you may also be getting a host of toxic pesticides, and they’ve likely been exposed to gamma radiation, which destroys pathogens and microbes but takes a significant portion of the nutritional content with it.
That said, drying your herbs is so easy, why would you want to go with store-bought?
When herbs are dried, they’re safe from mold, yeast, and bacteria, and will remain potent for at least six months to a year. To remove the moisture, all you need is air circulation and perhaps a little warmth. There are a number of ways to dry them that you can choose from – you might want to try a few and then move forward with the one you like best.
How To Harvest Your Herbs:
No matter which drying method you choose, you’ll need to harvest your herbs first. Harvest them for drying just before the flowers open – it’s easy to spot the many buds, which provide the clue that flowering is about to occur. It’s generally best to harvest your herbs during mid-morning hours after the dew has dried, but before the sun burns off newly developed essential oils.
Once you’ve harvested your herbs, don’t leave them sitting around too long or they’ll start to gather moisture or dust, which will spoil their flavor, color, and appearance.
Washing your herbs usually isn’t necessary if they were grown organically, but if they collected debris like weeds or dried grass, you can rinse them under cool water and then gently shake them to remove any excess moisture. Be sure to remove any dead, old, diseased or wilted leaves in the process.
Now that your herbs are ready, you can choose one of the following drying methods.
Read more at: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/dry-fresh-herbs/