Now that our growing season is over, we'll not have garden-fresh herbs for a while. So I decided to dry some to keep over for the winter. I'm pleased with the results-they look so much greener than my store-bought dried herbs. They are larger pieces, which make the food prettier, and I know it's not ground up stem in there, but the actual leaves.
Here's what I did:
Hang the herbs in small bundles for a week or two so that they become dry and brittle. (Keep out of dust, 'cause yuck. If that may be a problem, put paper bags around the hanging herbs and tie those off too.)
Then remove the leaves from the stems, and gently shred or crush the leaves to your desired size. I liked them bigger.
Put your leaves into air tight containers. I used old herb jars, and a cone of wax paper to help fill the jars.
Finally, label your jars. You can include the date as well if you don't intend to use them in 6-12 months. That's 6-12 months, folks. Not 3 years, not 5. Herbs lose their flavor, their potency, their...yumminess.
It's been said that you can freeze some herbs as well, but I've also heard reports that doing this will make the herbs bitter. I've tried freezing sage in the past and wasn't happy with the results-bitter and yucky colored brownish sage. I like this method and I hope you try it. Flavoring your food makes a huge difference. You need very little if you use good quality. Keep in mind, too, that if you didn't grow herbs, but have some from the grocer, you can dry those too before they reach the slimy-green-sludgy stage in the crisper drawer ;)