The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Drying your own herbs

 

Photo: Freshly cut herbs

Photo: Freshly cut herbs

The cottage is filled with the sweet aroma of coriander/cilantro. Later there will be wafts of mint, oregano, marjoram, lemon balm and sage. Tomorrow it will be garlic. It has suddenly got much colder here but there are still herbs to harvest to add to hearty winter dishes and give us a hint of summer again.

Needless to say I’m using the dehydrator to do this. It makes quick work of the drying process which is good as J.P. gave me a sack full of coriander. We will return half of the dried coriander to them. A good swap in my book.

We used to dry bunches of herbs on the kitchen beams. They never really worked and now I can see why. Researching this post I discovered that they need more care than we gave them. Some sites even recommend blanching them in boiling water before drying.

My new method is simple. I wash and sort the herbs – removing any dead or withered leaves. Then I dry them in batches using my dinky Zyliss salad spinner. Then I spread quite a thick layer of herbs on each tray of my dehydrator and leave them for a couple of hours before swapping the trays top to bottom (as the bottom trays dry the fastest). If I spread thinner layers it would speed up the process considerably. When the leaves are totally dry and crumble in my fingers I let them cool completely before storing them in zip lock food bags in a dark dry place.

So if you grow herbs and live in an area that hasn’t had to much frost there’s still time to dry some herbs for winter and save a bit of cash.


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