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We use a lot of herbs in cooking and so we always have some growing in the gardens. We grow Oregano, Lovage, Parsley and Chives which are all perennial herbs. Plant them once and they should come back each year with new growth. Our climate (Zone 3) dictates that we have to mulch the Oregano heavily for insulating over winter, if we want to plant it right into the ground.
Usually I grow the Oregano in a pot and just move it into a sheltered area for the winter time. Mint too needs to go in a pot, because it grows like crazy here and I don’t want it taking over the herb garden. Here is how to dry herbs without using our dehydrator.
How to Dry Herbs
The best time to harvest any type of herb is before it starts to flower. If you keep pinching the tops off, it will delay flowering and you can harvest more leaves throughout the season for using fresh or dried.
Any kind of herb can be dried as follows – it is easy and fast to get them hung up and drying!
Here is Parsley; I always have a plant or two on the porch with all the flowers. This makes it super easy for us to clip some to add to meals without having to go down to the garden to harvest.
Any herb will always taste better fresh and just picked from the plant. Because we live in the north, it’s not possible for us to grow herbs outside all year round. We could move them inside but that adds another thing to the list to be looked after.
We often go away for a little while in the winter and we would have to get someone to come and make sure they all were watered regularly. Instead, we just harvest and dry the herbs. It works better for us.
Harvested Parsley can be trimmed with scissors but it takes a lot longer. Instead of trimming, just bundle the stems together and secure with rubber bands. Then hang them or put the bundle into a paper bag and hang it. This works great if you have house animals; our dog was a shedder and so I always used to use the paper bag trick. I don’t want dog hair in my herbs!
This is dried Lovage. After a week of hanging time, I open the bag, and strip the stems right inside the bag. I toss out the stems and put the Lovage into a shallow bowl so I can crumble it into smaller pieces. Then I move the herbs into small mason jars, put a seal and ring on them and store them in my cupboard for using all year around.
Another Way to Dry Herbs Without a Dehydrator
Another way to dry herbs without a dehydrator is to clip the leaves of the herb right into a shallow basket. This is Lovage drying; use a loosely woven basket if you have one. Air circulation is important and will speed up your drying time.
You could also use a shallow glass or pottery bowl but be sure to run your hands through the herbs every now and then to shift them around so all parts can dry.
A wide variety of herbs ready for storage. We have Cilantro, Parsley, Lovage and two jars of Oregano. We store them in the kitchen cupboard and add to our meals right at the end of the cooking time. These will keep us going all winter and sometimes right up until picking time the following year! It’s quick, easy and we love to use dried herbs in the kitchen.
Other Herb posts:
What is Lovage? – If you have never heard of Lovage or grown it, check out this article all about Lovage!
Growing and Using Stevia – Yes you can grow your own sugar substitute! Take a look…
4 Ways to Preserve and Store Your Homegrown Food – have you got all these bases covered?
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
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