How to Dry Herbs and Flowers for Cooking, Infusions, Tinctures and Tea
by Carly Daley
Walking into my pantry, and seeing rows of dried herbs and flowers in mason jars, is proof of summer's bounty, and brings me so much genuine happiness. Yes, it's the the little things in life. Not only are they beautiful, their sight makes me feel a sense of accomplishment - a reminder that last summer I grew, harvested, dried and stored my own, organic herbs and flowers.
Drying herbs and flowers during the hot summer months, when you have more then you know what to do with, is an easy way to preserve them for year-round use! Doing so will leave you with homegrown herbs and flowers for cooking, teas, tinctures, homemade salves and balms, and potpourri, all year round.
You may think that a simple task, such as drying plants, wouldn't require an article dedicated to the topic, but your wrong! I'm here to share with you some of my tricks for drying herbs and flowers which prevent them from molding or blowing away.
How to Dry Herbs and Flowers
You can dry your fresh herbs and flowers using a couple of different methods.
If its sunny and warm, dry your herbs and flowers outside! To do this, you can
lay them on a towel or other dry surface and use a stick to weigh them down.
use and old, mesh produce bag! Place the herbs in the bag and set it in direct sunlight. Using a produce bag also allows you to flip the herbs so that they dry evenly, and itprevents them from blowing away. Finding a use for these bags, which would otherwise end up in the garbage, makes me more than happy!
use old window screens and racks.
tie the end of a bunch of herbs or flowers with a piece of string and hang it in an undisturbed place in direct sunlight.
When it's hot, your herbs will dry out completely within a day or two. At dusk, bring your herbs inside to prevent them from getting damp and dewy. They're ready to store when they are completely dry and crumble when crushed.
If it's not hot and sunny outside, bring the herbs indoors to dry. To do this, you can
use a dehydrator on it's lowest setting.
use an oven on it's lowest temperature setting (170 or less).
tie a bunch of herbs or flowers with a piece of sting and hang it in a sunny window in your home.
place them in an old, mesh produce bag and hang the bag in a sunny window.
The trick is, DON'T dry your herbs and flowers in a cool or damp place (like a bathroom) out of sunlight. Ensure that they're in an environment that's hot, dry, and ideally, in direct sunlight. Unless the herbs are in direct sunlight, or you're using a dehydrator or oven, I don't recommend drying indoors, as it's easy for the herbs to mold . If your herbs or flowers mold during the drying process, do not use them! They now belong to the compost.
When your herbs are completely dried, transfer them to a jar with a airtight lid and store them in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. They will last for several months.