By Erin Huffstetler | 07/09/2014 | 11 Comments
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Buying herbs always leaves me with sticker shock, so I try to grow as many of my own as I can. This time of year we pick herbs as we need them …
A few basil leaves for tomato sauce …
A big handful of dill for our salad dressing …
A couple sage leaves to season a chicken or turkey …
It’s a wonderful way to eat, but it’s not something that we can do during the winter months. So, I also dry our herbs. The process couldn’t be easier. I just head out to the garden in the morning, when the essential oils are at their best, and I fill a basket with leaves and snippets. To get the best flavor, I stick to young, undamaged plant material. Bug-chewed, yellowed herbs just aren’t going to taste as good.
I’m also careful not to take too much from any one plant. I want my herbs to thrive, so I can pick from them again and again.
When I’ve harvested what I want, I head back indoors, and lay everything out on dehydrator trays. To keep the flavors from mixing and mingling, I only dry one type of herb at a time. I own two dehydrators, so I can actually dry two types of herbs at a time. This is the dehydrator that I own.
Then, I just stack the dehydrator trays, flip the switch and leave them to do their thing.
Many of the herbs that I dehydrate are dry in as little as an hour. You can tell they’re ready, when they feel dry to the touch and crumble easily. There’s nothing tricky about it.
For herbs like basil, I just crumble them, and stick them in a spice jar. For herbs, like sage, I grind them first. I have a cheapie spice grinder that makes quick work of the task. I just toss the dried leaves in the grinder, give them a few whirls and they’re done. Easy peasy.
If you want really flavorful herbs, store them whole, and crumble or grind them as you need them.
Once you see how easy it is to dry your own herbs, you won’t ever want to pay someone else to do it for you.