The Basics of Drying Herbs at Home: A Beginner's Guide

The Basics of Drying Herbs at Home: A Beginner's Guide

When utilized fresh, the herbs from your garden taste the greatest; nevertheless, there are always more herbs than there are months in the growing season. Your home-dried herbs are the next best thing to using fresh herbs straight off the plant. Air drying is not only the simplest and most cost-effective method for drying fresh herbs, but because it is a gradual drying process, it also helps preserve the herbs' flavor by preventing the loss of their essential oils. Air drying may be done in a few days.

Various Methods for Drying

To Dry While Hanging


For this technique, sprigs or branches are bundled into little bunches and then hung out to dry. It is necessary to hang the leaves so that they face downward and wrap them loosely in paper bags or muslin to shield them from dust and collect any dropping leaves or seeds. There are better options for drying herbs than plastic bags since they encourage mold growth.

Allow the herbs to dry for around seven to ten days, considering the size of the branches and the relative humidity in your location. When the leaves of your spices are dry to the point that they crackle when crushed, this indicates that they are ready to be stored.

Drying on Racks

If you want your herbs to dry more quickly, one way to dry them is to separate the individual leaves or sprigs of herbs on racks and allow space between them. A drying rack can be fashioned by draping muslin, netting, or cheesecloth over a wooden frame and then securing it in place.

Ensure that the tray is placed in a warm, well-ventilated room that is out of direct light, such as the warming drawer of an oven, an airing cupboard, or another similar location. It is important to remember to flip the leaves periodically so that they dry evenly. Your dried herbs will be ready to use in around two to three days.

Dehydration in an Oven


Putting herbs like sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, & parsley in the oven to dry is the best way to preserve their flavor. Spread the individual leaves in the oven on a baking sheet covered with muslin to dry mix herbs. Take caution while adjusting the temperature since the herbs can easily catch fire, and make sure the oven is set to the lowest temperature possible.

After thirty minutes, flip the leaves over to ensure they dry on both sides equally. After an hour, the herbs have reached the appropriate level of dryness. After that, you should let the spices cool off.

Tips on How to Dry Herbs

  • Keep the finest stems and leaves; discard any wilted or dead sections.
  • When harvesting herbs, cut the stems above the soil line with scissors or pruning shears when the dew (for outside plants) has dried in the morning. Rinsing may be required to remove dirt or insects from the leaves of herbs cultivated outside. Rinsing herbs grown indoors is seldom necessary.
  • High-moisture herbs, such as basil, oregano, mints, and tarragon, must be dried immediately after harvesting to avoid molding. These work nicely dry with the leaves cut off the stems or inside a paper bag.
  • While it may be tempting to use the sun's heat to speed up the drying process, direct sunlight can degrade the flavor and color of herbs. Solar drying could be a better option on warm days with low humidity (less than 60%) than oven drying if appropriately done in the shade. However, remember that dew might harm plants left out to dry overnight. 
  • Making little bundles of herbs is an excellent idea for air-drying; this can be accomplished quickly by tying the ends of the natural twine tightly around the base of the stems. The bundles must be sufficiently tiny to allow for airflow between the leaves; packing too firmly might result in insufficient drying, which promotes mold formation.
  • Use a low-speed oscillating fan nearby to expedite the drying process of herbs that are hung to air dry. 
  • The woven bottoms of bamboo trays make them ideal for washing and drying herbs. Since the trays don't lie level on the counter or table, those with a slight curvature at the bottom promote airflow. 

Keeping the Dried Herbs in Storage


Once the herbs have been dried, the best way to keep their taste is to store them in airtight containers or glass jars and keep them out of direct sunlight. When mixed dry herbs are stored with their leaves intact rather than ground or powdered, the flavor is better preserved; nevertheless, this requires more storage space. Label everything carefully, date it, and use it within a year for the best benefits. Most herbs will remain completely useful after a year despite losing part of their effectiveness over time.


If you have a collection of dried herbs, you may still make a dish that is deliciously flavored with herbs, even if fresh herbs are not always accessible. Drying herbs is an excellent method for storing greens for an extended period. If you cultivate your herbs carefully and keep them appropriately, you can use them in various dishes over the next several months, provided that you take the required precautions.

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