Drying herbs: This is how you preserve the taste

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Herbs are best eaten fresh in the kitchen, but even in winter you want to add spice to your dishes with herbs. A simple way to conserve the crop is to simply dry the herbs. However, there is a lot to consider in this method of preservation, because not all herbs are suitable for drying. Some herbs, such as sorrel or borage, even completely lose their aroma when drying. We have put together some tips on how to best preserve the taste.

Harvest herbs properly

So that your herbs do not lose any aroma when they dry, they must be harvested at the right time. The aroma is strongest in many species before the flowering phase and the herbs lose significantly by the flower formation to taste. These include herbs such as mints, chives, dill or oregano. Harvest the herbs best on a dry, cloudy morning (after a few rainy days) after the dew has already dried. The herbs are cut off just above the ground so they can be dried and stored depending on the method. Do not try to injure the shoots too much, because valuable ingredients will be lost. The harvested parts of plants should be cleared of dirt and insects by shaking out the plants. In the case of leaves, seed stems and flowers, washing is dispensed with, since additional water would promote decomposition and prolong the drying phase.

Dry herbs in the air

There are several methods to dry your herbs, but especially gentle is a drying in the air. For this method, you only need a little yarn or conventional household gums to bind the herbs together in small bundles. Hang the bundles upside down in a dry and dust-free room. The room temperature should be between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. In addition, the room should be well ventilated. The faster the plants dry, the better. If the herbs are dried too slowly, the leaves may become moldy or turn black, making them useless and in need of disposal. The optimum drying time is therefore between 24 and 48 hours. If the plants need more time, enzymes degrade already chemical components in the tissue, whereby the quality deteriorates. Also due to too much moisture, heat or light, the quality is reduced.

Tie together sage

Tie the herbs together at the end of the cut to hang them upside down to dry

If you are drying the seeds of herbs such as cumin, you should hang the bundle upside down over a bag to catch the seeds in it.
Once the leaves of the herbs are brittle, they can be pushed off the stems and placed in a dark container for storage. Since herbs quickly lose their aroma when in contact with air, you should keep the container as closed as possible and open it only briefly if you want to use the herbs in the kitchen. Always check the container for mold before use. By the way, lady's mantle and marshmallow are particularly susceptible to mold, as they easily absorb moisture.

Dry herbs in the microwave

Only a few Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, oregano or marjoram can be dried in the microwave, without the aroma suffers. In this method, the herbs may also be washed before. Then spread the herbs on a paper towel and place them (along with the kitchen paper) in the microwave at a very low watt setting for about 30 seconds. Then check the herbs briefly and repeat this process until the herbs are dry. The total duration in the microwave should be about two to three minutes, but may vary depending on the amount and variety of herbs.

Dry herbs in the oven

This method is actually only suitable for subterranean plant parts, which survive unscathed higher temperatures at a longer drying time. Place the plant parts on a baking tray and push it into the oven for about two to three hours at about 50 to 60 degrees Celsius. Who wants to dry herbs in the oven, should choose the lowest temperature (about 30 degrees Celsius, but never higher than 50 degrees Celsius). Place the herbs on a baking tray and put in the oven for about two hours. Leave the oven door open a small gap.

These herbs can dry you

Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano or sage are ideal for drying.But also chamomile, peppermint or savory can be dried and stored for the winter. To give you a brief overview of which herbs are suitable for drying, we have put together a list of the most common herbs:

  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • sage
  • tarragon
  • lavender
  • chamomile
  • mints
  • savory
  • dill
  • chives
  • Caraway seed
  • fennel
  • hyssop

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