Storing herbs is a great way to add flavor variety to your stored foods. Growing herbs in an herb garden can provide fabulous fresh herbs during growing season. Usually, there is plenty of herb left at the end of the season. These fresh herbs can be preserved easily by drying them, and one way to get it done quickly is by using a dehydrator. I have an Excalibur dehydrator, but most dehydrators will work for drying herbs.
What you’ll need:
- Fresh herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, chives, marjoram, and sage.
- Dehydrator (best if it has adjustable temperatures and tray spacing).
- Containers for the dried herbs.
That’s it. Pretty simple, right? Okay, let’s get started.
1. Pick your herbs. If you grew them yourself, it’s best to pick them before they flower and if you can do it in the morning or evening it is supposed to help retain more flavor.
2. Wash the herbs. You don’t want little dirt bits in your dried herbs. Make sure they’re cleaned off well, and then give them a good shake or pat dry on a towel to get rid of the excess water.
3. Set the dehydrator to a low temperature (between 95 and 125 degrees is ideal), and place the herbs on the trays. You can remove them from the stems or cut them up prior to drying if you’d like to. If your dehydrator does not have adjustable tray spacing, you’ll probably want to get them off the stems. I just leave them on because it’s really easy to get them off after they are dry.
I’m drying parsley, oregano, and basil and all the trays needed double spaced, like this:
4. Dry for 6-18 hours depending on the herb and humidity levels. Herbs are dry when they crack and break into bits and powder.
5. Remove any extra stems before storing. I just stripped the oregano and basil from their stems by running them through my fingers over a bowl. The parsley needed a few stems broken off after drying as well.
6. Keep your dry herbs in an airtight container. I’m recycling a Nutella and a drink container. Washed out and completely dried before filling with herbs. If you want to recycle containers, use food grade “PETE” plastic. It has recycle code 2 on the bottom and will say PET or PETE by the code.
That’s a lot of herbs for cheap! Drying herbs in a dehydrator is super easy and a fantastic way to preserve those fresh herbs for later use!