Dry fresh herbs properly

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Dry fresh herbs

In many gardens and on balconies and terraces herbs are cultivated, whose harvest can quickly turn out lush. In this case, the drying offers itself to preserve them for later consumption. In order to properly dry fresh herbs, there are a few important rules to keep in mind so that the aroma will last for a long time and the delicate plants will not start to mold. However, not all herbs are suitable for drying, as some people lose their aroma during the drying process a little or even completely.

Very suitable herbs

Most of the herbs that come from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, are very good for drying. However, there are also native herbs that can be dried perfectly. These groups include the following varieties:
  • Lavender, savory, marjoram, peppermint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage
  • Local herbs: mugwort, chamomile, motherwort, lemon verbena, woodruff
  • For oregano, marjoram, rosemary and thyme, the aroma improves even after the drying process

Moderate to well suited herbs

Although some of the herbs can be dried, this process is relatively quick to perform, otherwise there is a serious loss of flavor. However, in most of these varieties, there is generally a noticeable decrease in aroma. These include the following herbs:
  • Very moist herbs must be dried quickly
  • These include: basil, dill, parsley, chives, lemon balm
  • If the moisture persists longer, the plants mold
  • Accelerate drying process with suitable electrical appliances
  • Grind directly after drying
  • Storage in dark and well sealed containers

Unsuitable herbs

Not all herbs are suitable for drying, some of the varieties lose their spicy aroma completely during the drying process and are therefore only fresh suitable for consumption. The following varieties belong to this category:
  • Borage, Cress, Lovage, Pimpinelle, Sorrel, Black Nettle, Tripmadam, Rhubarb
  • Lose after picking continuously and relatively quickly to flavor
  • Only the leaves remain, without spicy flavors and fragrances
Tip: Although some types of herbs can not be dried dry, but alternatively frozen, processed into an aromatic herbal oil or preserved in vinegar over the long term.


dry fresh herbs

When harvesting the herbs, the best time varies depending on the characteristics of each variety, these can vary greatly. For this reason, the harvesting process and the time should be determined depending on the variety. The development of the flowers as well as the subsequent ripening of fruits are an exhausting phase for herbs, during which less tasty ingredients are formed. The following aspects should be considered at harvest:
  • Many types of herbs develop the best flavor before flowering
  • Very often there are noticeable losses of aroma after reaching the flower
  • To harvest before flowering are the following popular herbs: basil, dill, oregano and chives
  • Ideally, harvest on a rain-free morning
  • Herbs should have gotten 1-2 sunny days before the harvest
Tip: On rainy days as well as in the evening and night phases, the herbal aroma and the taste are the least, in these time periods the harvesting is not advisable.


If fresh herbs are to be dried, it is best to refrain from washing them extensively before drying. As a result, the herbs not only lose their flavor quality, but washing significantly slows down drying. Immediately after the harvest, the herbs should not be reduced in size, as this will damage the cell structure and release essential oils and other flavoring ingredients. The following procedure should be observed when cleaning:
  • After harvesting, keep the herbs in a sieve
  • Shake off dust and dirt
  • Carefully remove dirt with a wet dishcloth
  • With extremely dirty herbs a washing process is inevitable
  • Then carefully dab off the excess water with kitchen paper

air drying

After a lush harvest, the herbs can not be used immediately fresh due to the large amount, in this case, offers the air drying for preservation. Drying in the air is a gentle way to preserve the herbs permanently. Although this takes much longer than other methods, but it is worth the time, since the ingredients contained in the herbs and flavorings are excellently preserved. The following aspects are important in air drying:
  • After thorough cleaning, tie herbs in small bundles
  • Do not lay bundles too close and too wide
  • Use either sturdy yarn or sturdy rubber bands for tying
  • Throughout the dry process, warm, sheltered and shady places are optimal throughout
  • Avoid direct sunlight in any case
  • Perfect places to dry offer dark loft, covered garden sheds, small storage and special drying rooms for food
  • Hang bundle upside down
  • Pay attention to loose side by side hanging, so that mold has no chance
  • Drying time is usually 3-4 days
  • Then store in aroma-tight and dark containers
Tip: Although the place should be warm to dry, but never too hot. If the temperatures are permanently above 35┬░ C, there is a risk that the valuable essential oils evaporate quickly.

Dry in the oven

dry fresh herbs

If you are in a hurry, you can also dry the herbs in the oven. However, this type of drying is always associated with a loss of aroma, in addition, also reduce possible healing effects of the herbs. The following procedure has proven itself when drying in the oven:
  • Set the lowest temperature level in the oven
  • Ideal is a temperature range between 30-50┬░ C
  • Grind herbs beforehand
  • Spread on baking tray with baking paper
  • Do not over-fill the baking tray so that the moisture evaporates unhindered
  • Leave small gap in the oven door open, place wooden spoon in between
  • For a gentle drying, allow about 3 hours in the oven
  • Start with the lowest temperature level, increase minimally from half the time span
Herbs are an important ingredient in the preparation of savory dishes and give them a spicy touch. In order to dry fresh herbs properly, it requires a careful approach, so that the aroma is preserved in the long term. Already at the harvest, the right time decides on the preservation of the aroma, for most types of herbs, the time period before flowering is ideal. In addition, when cleaning little or no water should be used so as not to unnecessarily enrich the herbs with moisture. The best method is the air drying, this is not only gentle, but also receives excellent the aroma. For a faster drying process, the drying process at the lowest level in the oven offers.

Video Board: Never Use an Oven or Dehydrator to Dry Herbs Again With This Century Old Method.

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