- When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown herbs for the best quality and nutritional value.
- Know when fresh herbs are available in your state with this seasonal food guide.
- If this is your first time drying or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Drying Information before beginning.
1. Selection & Ingredients
- Select herbs at peak quality and flavor. Do not use herbs that show signs of decay, mold, or bruising. These defects may affect all pieces being dried.
- Gather herbs in the morning after the dew has evaporated to minimize wilting.
- Avoid bruising the leaves.
- Use clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation.
- Many types of food dehydrators can be used and are explained in detail in Food Dehydrators.
- Storage containers
- Clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags
- Vacuum packaging is also a good storage option
- Cutting board
- Paper towels (for removing excess moisture)
- Timer or clock
3. Ingredient Preparation
- Rinse herbs in cool water and gently shake to remove excess moisture.
- Can also lightly pat with a paper towel, if needed.
- Separate clusters and discard long or tough stems.
- Arrange herbs in single layers on drying trays.
- Dry at 95-115 degrees F in an oven or dehydrator.
- In areas with high humidity, 125 degrees F may be needed.
- If necessary, turn pieces over every 1 to 2 hours during the drying period. Herbs can scorch easily toward the end of drying, so monitor more closely as drying nears completion.
- Total Drying Time: 1-4 hours in a dehydrator (may take up to twice as long in a conventional oven)
- Dried herbs should be crispy dry and crumble easily.
- Store small amounts of conditioned dried herbs in moisture-vapor-proof containers or bags.
- Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying.
- Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Properly stored, dried herbs keep well for six to 12 months.
- Discard herbs that have off odors or show signs of mold.
6. Using Dried Herbs
- Dried herbs are usually 3-4 times stronger than fresh herbs.
- To substitute dried herbs in a recipe that calls for fresh herbs, use 1/4 to 1/3 the amount listed in the recipe.
- Dried herbs make great additions to foods with lots of liquid, such as soups, sauces or dips.