Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preserving Herbs

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.)

Drying the herbs

Then remove the leaves from the stems, and gently shred or crush the leaves to your desired size. I liked them bigger.

Shred the leaves

Put your leaves into air tight containers. I used old herb jars, and a cone of wax paper to help fill the jars.

Store in a jar

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.

Fresh, dried herbs

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 ;)


  1. Beautiful! I love to see bundles of herbs hanging around. It makes a place seem so homey & cottage-like, and the spicy scent lingering in the air is delightful. This year the only garden plant I bothered with was my basil, but I've got lots of it. I'm looking forward to fresh from the oven garlic-basil bread with our spagetti this year. Are we going to get a follow-up post when you bake something with your herbs (hint, hint)?

  2. Very neat work! I hadn't thought of drying the store-bought ones. Hmmm....