Dried herbs can be found in almost any kitchen, around the world. A simple dash can completely transform the profile of a dish by infusing strong, natural flavors. While it is easy to buy dried herbs from a grocery store, it is as easy to dry your own at home for much less of the cost. Dehydrating herbs is one of the simplest ways to preserve and extend the life of your food.
Fresh herbs contain very little moisture, allowing them to quickly begin drying after you bring them home. Dried herbs contain little to no moisture, thus protecting them from bacteria, yeast and mold growth. They can often stay fresh for up to a year and since they are bought or harvested fresh, they will be more potent than store bought containers. There are many herbs that can be dried and depending on the herb, you will harvest the leaves, seeds or flowers for dehydration. Some simple ways you can begin drying herbs at home today are listed below.
Air Drying: To air dry herbs inside your home, tie them in a bundle and hang them upside down. This process can take hours to days to fully dry them out.
Solar Drying: If you live somewhere warm, sunny and dry, this method is perfect for you! You once again tie the stems together and place the bundles near a dry and sunny area allowing the sun to naturally dry the herbs out.
Refrigerator Drying: Using the refrigerator to dry herbs is another simple method. Simply put the herb bundles in the fridge and let them stay there for a few days. After some time, they should naturally dry out.
Once your herbs are dried out, store them in airtight containers or even reuse your old spice containers. Remember that your dried herbs will be more potent than fresh herbs, thus requiring smaller quantities to reach the same amount of flavor while cooking. See below for some more tips on drying herbs, what herbs work best when dried and different ideas on how to use them once they are dehydrated.