Dehydrating Herbs: Easy, Aromatic and Thrifty


Garden Herbs 

Growing herbs can come with challenges such as insect or weather damage, but I think the payoff for cooking-enhancement and cost-saving is well worth the effort. Most of my cooking herbs are planted in my spiral herb garden though there are mints, basils, and garlic scattered throughout our entire garden area. My healing herbs are also scattered far and wide.

While I have been seen wandering out around dinnertime to collect something lovely and aromatic to add to our meal, I dehydrate most of my herbs for use throughout the year. I gather mine in the morning and am careful to avoid any damaged leaves and plants that have gone to flower. The photo above (lower left) shows last year’s sage growth in flower (it’s been keeping the bees happy for the past month) with this year’s fresh growth lush and ready to harvest (lower center).

Prepare Herbs for Dehydrating

After snipping your herbs for drying, bring them in for closer inspection, rinsing, and de-stemming. While you work, if it’s not too hot out and you so desire, you might brew yourself up a lovely cup of fresh tea with some of your clippings. Though I dry much of my mint for use through the winter, it’s always great to have a cup of fresh herbal tea.

Dehydrating Herbs

Try to layer your leaves without too much overlapping so you won’t have to rearrange them during the process. If your leaves don’t thoroughly dry, there’s a risk of mold. It’s preferable to choose herbs with similar dehydration times unless you don’t mind removing trays with leaves that finish more quickly during the process. I usually check mine once during the drying time and often rearrange the trays for more even drying.

I also label the trays on the outside using scotch tape and a Sharpie, mostly because I’m getting old and I usually busy myself with a variety of things during the period my dehydrator is working its magic. I don’t want to forget what I’m drying. This is especially important when you have herbs that look more alike than the batches shown in this blog post—I often dry catnip, peppermint, and chocolate mint at the same time. Sometimes smell will help identify but it’s easier to label and not worry about it.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters