Drying herbs is one of the easiest ways to reserve leaves and flowers for future use in cooking, cosmetics, or health care recipes or potions. There are three different types of drying methods.
– Air-drying by hanging.
– Air-drying on screens
– Drying in a dehydrator
Hanging herbs to dry is a good way to preserve them. However, a well-ventilated and dark area will be necessary, as well as one that lasts dry throughout the year. An attic is a good solution, after you have covered any windows that will allow sunlight. In many situations, a person may also use a basement room or a spare room for this purpose.
The best time of day to gather herbs for drying is in the morning. You do not need to wash them unless they've been soiled with mud. If you do rinse off your herbs, make sure they are completely dry before you bunch them up for hanging.
To hang dry herbs, tie bundles or bunches with twist ties, thread, or even rubber bands, and then hang them on some sort of apparatus that will allow air to circulate freely around them. You can use hangers, books, or any other method to hang. Make sure that you leave room in between hangers or bundles in order to allow adequate air circulation for optimum drying.
If you're drying herbs this way to use in cooking, you may find better results by enclosing her bundles in paper bags to keep them from growing dusty while they dry. While this may take a little longer, up to three weeks, they will stay clean!
If you live in a humid area or the area where you are drying your herbs may accumulate moisture, wrapping cheesecloth around herbs instead of paper bags will provide a better solution, by offering more air to circulate around herbs, though still keeping them clean from dust .
Hang branches of herbs, upside down at least one foot from any wall and allow at least six inches in between bunches of herbs. While most herbs take about two weeks to dry when hung uncoached in dark and dry conditions, those that are covered with paper bags or cheesecloth will probably need an extra week, perhaps more before they are ready to use.
You can determine whether your herbs are ready to use or not, or if they are completely dry, by touching them. If they are ready, they will feel crackly and crisp. You may use them or store them for even longer periods of time, but keep in mind that since the water has evaporated from stems and leaves, their flavor will be more concentrated than the herb you pluck fresh from your garden. Because of this, reduce the amount you add to recipes to per one one half to one third as much as you would use when using a fresh herb.
After your herbs of dried, remove leaves from the stands and store in a tightly closed jar or container in a cupboard that is not open to direct sunlight.
Drying on screens
Dryings on an elevated screen or screen which you have elevated with blocks of wood or any other object proves a little easier for tiny leaves and flowers that might be hard to handle otherwise, or to hang without damaging.
If you happen to live in an area of the country that contains relatively high levels of moisture throughout the year, a dehydrator may be your only option for properly drying herbs. However, although dehydrators are handy for drying herbs such as parsley and basil, they may lose their color or flavor when air-dried. A dehydrator is perfect for drying roots in about three days, but when drying especially small herbs such as thyme, cover the dehydrator tray with cheesecloth to prevent leaves from falling through.
There are three different methods for drying herbs. Each one has its positives and negatives. Choose the ones that best fit your needs
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