Herbs can be expensive, especially fresh ones. I often find that I buy way more than I could use for one meal. They are usually far more expensive than buying already dried herbs in bulk. However, every once in a while, I buy fresh ones or I sometimes grow my own or get a bounty from someone who does. Here are some simple tips for drying your own herbs that will save you a lot more money in the future.
How to Dry Your Own Fresh Herbs
When I need dry herbs, I find myself in the bulk herb section of my local health food store or if you are lucky, your neighborhood grocery. You don’t pay for packaging, bottles or labels, so the savings in phenomenal. However, if you can grow a little herb garden, you can really rake in the savings by drying your own. Some herbs are really easy to dry and just require placing them on a cookie sheet in a dry place.
For this example, I will show you how easy it is with bay leaves.
My mom has a bay leaf plant. (by the way, these plants produce a lot-more than a single person could really need at one time and are easy to care for) and I was given some leaves to have after I ran out the last time I made spaghetti sauce. The process is very simple. All you do is lay them on a cookie tray. In just about 2-3 days, you will find them dried out. Now, the last time I went to buy this same quantity of bay leaves. I found them at around $4.00 for a jar, (cheaper in bulk, obviously) but this way, if you have your own plant, it’s basically free.
Here are some ways to dry your own herbs:
In the summer, you can even dry herbs outdoors on a sunny day. Just create a bunch and tie them up with twine or a rubber band along the stems. Hang them upside down in the sun from a porch or patio. Keep your bundles smaller so they have a chance to dry well and not mold. You should leave them out for 3-4 days, checking on them to make sure the ones on the inside are rotated out.
Always wash your herbs before drying as they are easier to do it when they are fresh. Make sure to dry them completely before placing in a bundle.
Utilize what you have at home to dry. You don’t need any special equipment. A splatter screen works well for drying herbs like tarragon so you can dry them flat.
Pretty much all herbs can be dried out for use later. Just remember that when using dried vs. fresh, you need about twice as much dried for optimal flavor.