Did you get ambitious and plant a herb garden this summer? You’ve probably been enjoying fresh herbs all summer long. But now that the growing season is coming to an end, you’ve probably got more herbs than you know what to do with. I know I do! The perfect solution to an overambitious herb garden is simple. Drying herbs is an easy and simple solution!
Personally, I love gardening. This is the first year we’ve had suitable land to plant a real garden (in the soil, not a container garden). Well I got plant-happy and bought a ton of herbs and a ton of veggies (read my post on gardening with your kids here). I ran out of room in the garden and bought the biggest window box I could find and started growing MORE herbs on my deck.
Well, I’m now up to my eyeballs in herbs. I’ve also learned that while I use a lot of herbs in the winter while cooking, we usually barbecue in the summer and keep it pretty casual. Not a lot of herb use.
Instead, I’ve been drying my favourite herbs to store them for the winter. It is so easy to do and I love knowing I won’t have to buy herbs over the winter. Bonus: I know my herbs are pesticide-free with no additives.
Here is a step-to-step tutorial to drying herbs:
Harvesting your Herbs:
When you cut your herbs, but sure you are cutting them appropriately. Parsley and similar herbs should be cut from the base working from the outside working in. Basil and similar herbs should be cut from the top, just above a leaf nodule.
Wash your herbs and dry them as best you can. I give them a spin in my salad spinner.
I think the easiest way to dry herbs is to hang them. If you don’t have a drying rack, it’s pretty easy to find a solution. I’ve been using bag clips I got at the Dollar Store. They are magnetized, so I can hang them on the fridge, or hang them on teacup hooks, if you have any in your kitchen. You can also use big paper clips. Do not tie the herbs with string, as the stems will shrink as they dry and can fall out.
Then the waiting begins. It may take a week or more for the herbs to full dry. I just do a touch-test every few days. If they feel like crispy fall leaves, they’re ready.
Preparing the Herbs:
Once dried, separate the leaves from the stems. Give the leaves a whirl in the food processor to chop them up well. Then store in a glass jar and enjoy your own homegrown herbs all winter long!
Easy-peasy, right? I love using my dried parsely in an amazing root vegetable roast that I will share next week (I used two bottles last year alone!). If you have leftover basil, spinach or kale, try this recipe to make a delicious pesto you can enjoy now, or freeze for the winter.
What are your favourite herbs to grow? Do you use them all during the summer, or are you too ambitious like me? Comment below. I would love to hear from you!