How to Dry Herbs

You'll never buy dried herbs again after you try one or more of these six methods for drying herbs at home.

| February/March 2013

dry herbs on screens

Drying screens for solar herb drying are easy to make. Use this screened tray to dry herbs in the sun or in your car.

Photo By Tim Nauman

Of all the various types of foods and ways to preserve them — freezing or canning fruits and vegetables, pickling, curing meat, making cheese and yogurt — dehydrating herbs is the easiest place to jump in. Most herbs contain so little moisture that your job is done soon after you’ve bought or harvested them.

Drying herbs is an economically savvy food preservation strategy, too, because fresh and dried herbs and teas demand high prices at the grocery store.

Your own dried herbs will taste better than store-bought because they’ll be newer and thus more pungent. If you grow your own herbs, you can also choose the tastiest varieties.

Herb Drying Basics

When herbs are dried, they are safe from bacteria, mold and yeast, and will remain potent for at least six to 12 months. To remove moisture, all you need is air circulation. Some warmth can also help. The six methods detailed here fit the bill.

Washing herbs usually isn’t necessary if they are grown organically. Harvest herbs in mid-morning before newly developed essential oils have been burned off by the sun, but after the dew has dried. Remove old, dead, diseased or wilted leaves.

When you harvest herbs for their seeds, the seed heads should be turning brown and hardening, but not yet ready to shatter. To harvest herbs for their flowers — such as chamomile flowers or thyme spikes — snip flower buds off the plants close to the first day the buds open.

10/2/2017 2:07:29 PM

Thank you, I am inspired to begin trying this with my herbs.

7/10/2017 5:18:48 PM

I dried my rosemary in the sun and now there is a white residue at the base of many of the leaves, is it still okay to save and use?

6/30/2017 5:38:14 AM

7/20/2015 10:18:33 PM

can you dry herbs by food dehydrator ?

6/25/2015 2:44:25 PM

I choose to wash/rinse in water my organically grown herbs because bugs sit on the leaves and poop and dust gathers on the leaves also. I choose to try to get rid of those problems by washing. I am disappointed in your article that you just claim by growing organically no one needs to wash cut herbs before drying

4/13/2015 7:45:56 PM

can we use this technique to dry hibiscus rosa sinensis before we use to grind dried hibiscus rosa sinensis to powder?

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