Whether you’re a beginner cook or a seasoned chef, you probably are aware that dried herbs can enhance your dish. Your spice cabinet is more than likely stocked with the basics. Unless you’re a bachelor, even in that case you own at least 3 dried herb shakers, right?
Great, now answer me this…
Have you ever checked the expiration dates??
FDA regulations support a shelf life of 1-3 years. Uh..yuuck!
Drying your herbs at home versus purchasing dried herbs at the grocery store makes a huge difference. It’s like night and day. It guarantees you’ll have a more deep flavorful herb to use in your dishes.
Air Drying Herbs
Air drying is a very traditional and inexpensive way to dry your herbs and preserve your herbs.
- Gather the bunch of herbs you’d like to dry and tie them together tightly with a rubber band. Be sure to tie it tightly because the stems will shrink as the herbs dry.
- Tie a long piece of twine to the rubber band.
- Hang the bunch of herbs upside for about 1 week.
- Remove the herbs from the stem.
- Bottle the herbs in glass jars.
A dehydrator is a great way to dry your herbs in bulk and simplifies the drying process. Spread your herbs on the BPA fresh plastic mesh trays to keep the leaves from falling through or line your metal trays in foil. Dehydrating is very similar to how you would dry your herbs in the oven except with the dehydrator, you’ll place it in the device, set the temperature, the time, and you’re free to go.
Oven Drying Herbs
Don’t have the gadget or the patience to air dry? No worries, you can use your oven!
- Spread a layer of herbs on a lined baking sheet (use parchment paper or foil).
- To ensure the herbs don’t overcook, set on the lowest temperature possible, be sure not to exceed 180 F. Oven-dried herbs tend to lose some of the potency and flavor because the herbs will somewhat cook so be sure to increase the amount you use in your dish.
- Dry for 2 to 4 hours stirring occasionally. The herbs will crumble once they’re done.
- Once the herbs are completely dry, they should have a nice crunch to them.
- Be sure to remove the leaves from the stem and store in an airtight container.
Dried herbs are very potent because the dehydration process removes all of the water from the herb, leaving the essential oil. Be sure to store them in an airtight container such as a glass jar, zip lock bag, or plastic container.
Dried herbs are best used within a year.