Saturday, September 15, 2012

How to Dry Fresh Herbs

Yesterday Sam and I went to pick up a piece of mail from his grandparents' house.  They have a garden.  It's near the end of the season.  They were going out of town.  We got full and complete access to their produce!  YES!

Good thing, too, because Sam completely forgot to hit "okay" when purchasing our Bountiful Basket earlier this week, and we missed the deadline.

So what did we get?  We got a huge box of peaches (which were nearly all ripe, overripe, bruised, etc, and so got cut up and put into portions in the freezer for smoothies and maybe fresh peach ice cream), we are "the proud owners of three great purple onions," we got a few zucchinis at various stages of nibbling and growth, a few little green bell peppers, a few enormous beefsteak tomatoes, and a couple of Anaheim chilis.  Oh, and a bunch of fresh herbs!

I believe we acquired: basil, rosemary (used here), thyme, oregano, sage, savory, marjoram, and a couple of stray chives.  Like I said, we used a bit of the rosemary last night, and this morning I took it upon myself to attempt herb-drying.

There are a few different methods, especially depending on the herb.  Knowing my luck, I'm not expecting all of these to turn out.  But in the meantime the kitchen smells amazing.

The only thing you really need to know is whether your herbs are low or high moisture content.  I think a good way to tell is: do they start to wilt when they have been picked for a few hours?  Basil I know is a high-moisture content herb.  Things like rosemary, savory, thyme, etc, are low-moisture content.  A simple google search will tell you whether you can air dry the herbs or you need to dehumidify them.

Simplified tips on how to dry your own herbs (cause I know you have lots of them):

Unwrapped and wrapped piles, plus scissors and string that we had on hand.

All herbs for air-drying (low-moisture content) have been tied at the stems with their few base leaves removed.  The base leaves will be mostly flavorless when they are dry because they are oldest.

In the mean time, the basil, which must be dehydrated or it will get moldy (it has a high moisture content like mint and some other herbs), sits in the oven on the lowest heat setting for 20 mins.  It will sit in their for 1-2 days, and once or twice a day I will turn on the low heat again for 10-15 minutes. This is because I don't have a dehumidifier/dehydrater.  I'm sure it's easier with one of those.

The low-moisture-content herbs are hanging in a cool, dry place.  It was recommended that I put them in a slotted paper bag to keep dust and spiders off, but I didn't feel like it.  Plus we have no paper bags.  I feel like I live on a French farm or something awesome.  The huge bunch at the bottom left is Savory.  I've never used Savory before, but it smells delicious and soft.

1 comment:

LP said...

I have a dehydrator! You can borrow it any time it's not in storage. Or in another state.