Drying your own herbs seems like a pain in the ass, but it’s not? I figure, if you go through the trouble of growing something, then you might as well use it.
At the end of spring I dried a bunch of dill and this fall I’m doing the same with my thyme. The best time to harvest most herbs for drying is just before the flowers first open, but I have never followed this. I’ve always cut my dill after I see a bunch of flowers and realize I need to pull the plant, and the flavors are still just as strong.
All you need to know is located on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website but I have the following suggestions:
- Of the “tender-leaf” herbs, drying basil never seems worth it. I always have too much at the end of the summer and prefer, instead of drying, to make pesto (without the dairy) and freeze it in ice cube trays.
- The same goes with cilantro. There is always room in the freezer for a few cubes of chimichurri.
- Mint, however, is always worth it. Add it to your chicken, put it on cucumbers, toss it in a salad. Mint seems to be great in anything.
- Since rosemary is an evergreen I don’t see the point in drying this one either.
- A dehydrator always works best, but without one, I prefer to remove the leaves and spread them out on a large pan in a safe place. I’ve always lived in very humid climates, so removing the leaves can prevent the mold that can grow if/when you hang the herbs in bundles to dry. For more delicate things like dill or parsley, I still bundle them up and hang them for a day or two. I’ve never done cilantro before.
- The link doesn’t really say what to do with the herbs once they are dry, but I always run mine through a (clean) coffee grinder and then store in glass containers. Sometimes I mix them, depending on what they are. (Try some of these spice blends).