So, we had a bit of interest earlier this year in how we process and preserve our herbs. We are at the point where we can demonstrate just that! While we love using our herbs fresh whenever possible, at the end of the season, we aim to preserve the excess for the long haul.
There’s no doubt you can just toss your herbs into the dehydrator and that will work for drying them. However, most herbs will significantly benefit from a slower drying process and specific handling that improves their overall quality when dried.
Specifically, we like to hang our herbs upside down for the drying process. When we fully harvest, we bundle the herbs and tie them together using twine, which then allows us to easily hang them upside down It is thought that this forces the various oils and aromatics into the leaves (what you’ll actually harvest), which improves the “punch” you get from them when you go to use them. We generally dry out our herbs for a few weeks, sometimes longer. We hang them in a dark and cool room, but still generally around typical room temperatures.
Once the herbs are dried, that’s when we actually process them. We use what’s called an “herb stripper,” or a little gadget that’s designed to separate the leaves from the stems. This makes processing herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley go quite a bit faster compared to hand stripping them. We just strip them into a bowl and do any cleanup that might be desired, should we get an errant stem or the like.
Dried herbs are best stored in air tight glassware. When stored properly, dried herbs can last for many years. Just like with any dehydrated foods, we want to observe the glass for moisture droplets as this ensures we won’t experience early spoilage. If we see any problems with moisture on the glass, we make sure to dry the herbs out further prior to final storage.
When using this technique, we get exceptional pungency and potency from our home grown herb stash. We’ve found that we much prefer the quality of our dried herbs when processed this way, especially over more traditional dehydrator techniques