An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How To Dry Your Own Herbs

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Monday, April 22, 2019

How To Dry Your Own Herbs

Drying herbs is easy, fun and cost-effective


While I sometimes struggle with getting a yield from my vegetable garden, I do not - for what reason I can't discern - have an issue growing herbs. I have lavender, sage and rosemary growing in my veggie garden, and I tell you what, nothing will kill these plants! Nothing. Two winters ago it was about 20 degrees for two solid months (a rarity here in Dallas). I thought for sure that would kill them. Nope, the herbs came back stronger than ever! So much so that I had to do some serious trimming back this spring. I couldn't stand to just throw all these herbs away (I mean, organic herbs go for $7 a bottle at Whole Foods!) so I decided to dry them myself. This, friends, is how to dry your own herbs. Perfect for when they're in season and you have far more than you can use fresh.


First things first, you absolutely need a pair of sharp garden shears. I tried to do this with my sharpest pair of scissors and while I *could* cut through the thick stems of rosemary, I couldn't get through the sage. So do yourself a favor and invest (probably the wrong word choice, as they're not expensive!) in a sharp set of garden shears and watch how much easier your life is. Just do it. Not sponsored by Nike.

Ok, now that we got that settled, back to herb-drying. Honestly, I was feeling a little dismayed at how well my rosemary and sage were doing. They started to over-run my raised veggie garden. I had just planted tomatoes in the next row and thought, well shoot, there's already barely enough room for these tomatoes! In another month, these plants would easily be taking up a third of my garden bed. I use the rosemary year round, but the sage is almost exclusively used at Thanksgiving. I'm working on coming up with a fresh, summery recipe featuring fresh sage so keep an eye out for that (I'll link it here once it's live later this spring) but even so, I just have SO much sage I knew I had to do some serious trimming.



I began trimming and my garden looked instantly better. I looked at all the herbs I had cut and thought, what a waste! Then I thought, wait a minute. Why would I toss these?! I have tons of baby food jars to put the dried herbs in - why don't I just DIY this? Herbs are expensive and the best part of drying your own is you know how they were grown and handled, so you know what fertilizer was used, which pest control sprays need to be washed off, etc. That's a win! Plus, I learned it's super easy. Here's how to dry your own herbs:



1) Cut back your herbs at the base of the stem, where it either connects to the main plant stem or where it branches off in a Y. This will result in better growth of the plant in the future, believe it or not!
2) Wash the herb(s) to get any dirt or pest control sprays you use off while the leaves are still hydrated
3) Use string to hang the herbs upside down. You can do this inside or outside. Since it's nice here already, I decided to do it outside and let the sun help me (that will help the drying process go faster, provided it isn't humid and doesn't rain!)
4) Once the herbs are FULLY dry (brittle to the touch), remove the leaves from the stems and store in a glass airtight container. You want to make sure the the herbs are fully dry - any moisture will mold/rot the whole batch, so make sure that the herbs are dry from both internally and externally. I used baby food jars for storage because I had them, but any glass container will work. I like smaller batches (aka, I wouldn't use a mason jar) because you'll be able to use them before they go bad. Dried herbs last about 6 months, provided you waited until they were fully dry before storing them. For reference, in Dallas, with temps regularly in the mid to upper 70's and sunshine on the herbs with low humidity, I waited a week and a half before I took the herbs down to store them.

It's so easy to dry your own herbs, using everything from your garden and saving money
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Super easy, right? The hardest part is waiting until the herbs are fully dry before storing them. Also, be prepared for your herbs to explode after you do some trimming! While I did a pretty solid trim to get these herbs, not even two weeks later, I needed to trim back the plant AGAIN because it had such explosive growth after the first trim (and our weather finally was consistently sunny and nice, promoting further growth)! Fresh herbs are delicious, but when you have more than you can use, here's how to dry your own herbs so that you can enjoy them year-round. 

8 comments:

  1. Herbs from the store are so expensive. This is a great money saving hack! Now that my husband and I bought a home, I can start working on gardening!

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  2. I LOVE drying herbs and flowers. Hanging them up is the best way, I find as well. And you can enjoy their scents PLUS it looks so pretty!

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  3. Love this! I have a LOT of herbs overgrowing in my garden, thanks for the tips!

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  4. Definitely something I want to try this summer!

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  5. I’m so glad you shared your experience with herbs in comparison with other plants. I don’t have a green thumb at all and all plants have died under my watch. I might try these though since they are so resistance to death lol

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  6. I love the idea of drying herbs! I have some herbal plants in my backyard, and they are growing super well. I will try this method. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. I have the worst luck with plants & herbs but I really love this idea! I love having fresh herbs on hand but sometimes feel like they go bad before I get a chance to use them all up!
    -madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

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  8. Love this idea! You can definitely save lots of money this way!

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