Bluemoon's Little Shop of Wicca

How to dry your own herbs

Drying  your own herbs is really easy. All you really need is some string or twine and a warm, dry place with hooks or pegs to hang them from.
Step 1: Gather your herbs. The best time to do this, if it fits your schedule, is in the morning before the sun is shining on them. It’s also best to pick the herbs before the plants start to flower.
Step 2: Wash your herbs and pat them dry with a towel. Or, if your herbs look pretty clean, you can just shake them gently to get rid of any residual dust or dirt. At this point, I also pick off any leaves that are yellowed, spotted, or discolored.
Step 3: If your herbs have a lower moisture content (like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, etc.), air-dry them by tying them in bundles and hanging them in a place that is warm and dry with some air circulation
If your herbs have a higher moisture content (like basil, lemon balm, mint, etc.), they could start to mold if they are not dried quickly enough. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace (I wish!), that would be a great, old-fashioned place to hang them near, but if not, you can use an oven at the lowest setting possible. Just make sure you don’t let them burn! (I’ve definitely made that mistake more than once!)
The way I dry my basil in the oven is to turn it on to 170 degrees (the lowest it will go) and then shut it off and leave the door open until it feels just warm, but not hot, when I stick my hand in. Then I put the herbs in and leave them there with the door shut until the oven has cooled down to the point where it’s back to room temperature again. And then I take the herbs out, re-start the oven, and do the process over again until the herbs are fully dry.
* Note: It’s a good idea to write yourself a note or tie a string to the oven door to remind yourself that the herbs are in there so you don’t accidentally pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees to bake a batch of cookies. (Yep, definitely made that mistake before!)
Step 4: Store your herbs. Once your herbs are completely dry (they should be able to crumble easily in your hands and have that crispy feel and sound like autumn leaves do), you can separate the leaves from the stems and put your dried herbs into old spice bottles, mason jars, etc.
The best place to store herbs in in a cool, dry place away from the light. This will keep the properties of the herbs as intact as possible and keep them fresh for the longest.
I like to keep my herbs in little cork-topped spice bottles because I like how old-fashioned they look, and any extras that don’t fit into the bottles I keep in larger Mason jars.

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