I have gone to the store a number of times to buy fresh herbs and have found myself throwing them out immediately after they wilt. Why, oh, why have I literally never thought of hang drying them? Not only is it the easiest thing in the world, but it also is like, hella beautiful and I literally get compliments on my dried-herb-wall-situation, like, everytime someone new comes over. Not even joking. When 40% of the food we eat in America ends up wasted in the trash, this is by far the simplest way to change your life, change your recipes, and change the food waste that is rampant.
It’s definitely a win, win, win.
Below, is a comprehensive guide with the help of professional gardener and writer Ellie MacDougal, who provided the tricks of the trade that helped me not overdry my herbs.
On Drying Le Herbs
Its easy, quick, and virtually effortless. However, not all herbs are so easily dried, for example, coriander, chervil, and frilly parsley, develop off-flavor, so be mindful. Rosemary, thyme, and borage flowers have to be watched closely to ensure they don’t become overdried. Basil, oregano, and flat-leaf parsley are somewhere in between the two.
On Le Hanging Process
Hanging herbs need ventilation, so the best places to hang them is overhead or in a space where they have decent airflow and aren’t cramped together. I hung some small hooks over my bar area, and hang my herbs using string. You can easily hang them from kitchen handles if you only have a few, or on your oven door.
On Le Drying Process
It’s best practice to check your herbs every day or two depending on the thickness of your leaves and moisture content when originally hung. You will know that your herbs are dry once they break into pieces easily. They should crumble but not dissolve into powder. There’s really no perfect time frame, just eye them and check occasionally the consistency. If they are too dry and form a sort of powdery substance, it’s probably best not to consume them because according to Ellie MacDougal, “they produce volatile oils.”
If you find that they are not drying fairly quickly after day one or two, Ellie recommends setting up a fan on a low setting and placing it nearby. If your bundle is too thick, and still not drying, try removing making your bundle into smaller quantities so that way air flow is possible.
On Le Storage
Best practice is to use small glass containers. *Cough* Like your old empty glass spice jars. *Cough* Most herbs can last up to a year contained properly in a dark, cool space.
If you have more tips and tricks, drop me a line, leave a comment below with your theories, and send me a photo of the recipes you make with your dried herbs. I’ve been wanting to explore some more Indian recipes, so if that’s your specialty, please, oh, please, contact me. I need help—mentally, spiritually, physically.