budget gardening, gardening, herb garden, herbs, homesteading, tea, tea garden, Uncategorized

Drying your Own Herbs

Hello dear readers, I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post. From Coronavirus to Black Lives Matter (yes indeed) to finding out I’m pregnant, writing took a back seat. It’s no excuse, however, as anyone who does it knows writing is therapeutic in itself. When we neglect those habits that heal us, and feed only those that ail us (which is in my case scrolling through the news for hours on end) our mental health certainly takes a toll. It’s all about finding balance, isn’t it? Alas, I am back and this blog is not about mental health (though it’s definitely worth many blog posts in itself). So, onto herbs we go!

After I washed and plucked the herbs from the garden, I first attempted to dry them in the oven. This seemed like a cheap and effective method, and, to an extent, it did work. The downsides were as follows:

1. I found the herbs all dried at different rates which was inconvenient as I needed to take some off of the pan while trying to be quick as possible so the others wouldn’t cool too much.

2. Most of them turned much browner than I would’ve liked.

3. I had to keep an eye on them the entire time and put a spatula in between the door of the oven so that they wouldn’t overheat and catch fire.

I had avoided buying an herb dryer as I’d figured it’d be costly. Well, I was wrong. Just a little bit of time online and I found this HUGE herb dryer for $20 on Amazon:

I certainly don’t love endorsing Amazon, but here we are. I would encourage you to find an herb dryer elsewhere if you have the means, or if you know of an equally economical purchase from a small business. If you do, please share it below in the comments!

All I had to do after plucking and washing my herbs this second time around was place them in the herb dryer. I placed my herb dryer in a cool dark closet. The comments on Amazon say a covered area outside works just as well and with this mesh, bugs are of no concern. I left my herbs in the dryer for a week and then voila, they were nice and crunchy. I then ground them up in my coffee grinder, making sure to clean it out after each herb so as to not mix or dilute the scents. It’s been pointed out to me that grinding them before use has the potential to make them less potent. Thus, if you have the storage capacity perhaps you’ll want to wait until it’s time to use them to grind. If you don’t have a grinder of this sort, chopping, hand crunching, or even muddling works just as well. These herbs were much brighter than my first round and seemed to maintain more freshness (this assumption is based on smell alone).

I now have enough herbs for almost the whole year and plenty more are still waiting to be harvested! I’m hoping that by the end of the season I’ll have enough to share and give away as gifts. Whether you’re making your own tea or simply jarring enough to get through the winter, I highly recommend investing in an herb dryer. Until next time friends!

3 thoughts on “Drying your Own Herbs”

  1. Thank you for saying BLM. It’s a rare thought in homesteading blogs and it shouldn’t be. My heart aches with how undiverse the small farming/homesteading community is, but I know it’s not always safe to invite my more diverse friends into that world, so I love to see it said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose some see it as a political statement, but I believe it to be a human rights issue. All lives don’t matter until black lives matter. Statements like these are often considered polarizing, so I appreciate your feedback very much.

      Liked by 1 person

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