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Tips For Drying Garden Herbs

Jul 17, 2008
There are herbs that are grown in the garden for the simple fact that they are both beautiful and fragrant. Many herbs will be harvested to serve a practical purpose. This includes aromatics, seasonings, medicinal use, and more. In this case, drying garden herbs is required to preserve them. There are several traditional drying methods including using a bag, tray, or just the air. Here are some tips on how to dry fresh herbs from your garden.

A variety of herbs have lovely flowers. Some of their seeds can be harvested. In this case you will dry the flower over a sheet of paper. Next you curl the paper to make it easy to pour the seeds into the bag. This is the simplest way to preserve them. There are additional steps involved when you preserve the leaves.

Remove the roots and flowers from the plant. Soak the rest of the plant in water for two to three hours. Soaking will help you remove all of the soil from the plant's stalk and stems. After you have washed away all of the soil put the plant on a towel to dry.

Once the stalks are dry, place them in a paper bag with the root end sticking out of the bottom. Tie this end up and set the bag right side up on it's base with the plant then being upside down. Nature will move the oil from the stems down into the plant's leaves, giving them their natural flavor or smell.

Leaves will become brittle in about a week or two if the air has been moderately dry and without excessive moisture. Do not break your dried herbs at this stage. Gently separate them and put them in an airtight jar for storage. Later, you can use these dried herbs in potpourri or crumble them for delicious seasonings.

For drying garden herbs on a tray, carefully pull the leaf stem off the stalk and lay them spread out on your tray. Place the tray in a dark area with good air circulation. The tray needs to be removed everyday so the leaves can be turned over to assure they are drying evenly. After several days they should be dried sufficiently to use.

If you're short on time, turn to your kitchen microwave for help. Absorption will be better if you place the herbs in the microwave on top of a paper towel or paper plate than a microwave-safe one. You can microwave for a few minutes on medium power. The variety and quantity of herb, in addition to your kind of microwave, will determine the time you need to cook, but 2 to 3 minutes is good for most uses.

Check relative dryness by rubbing a leaf between your forefinger and thumb. The leaf ought to be brittle, crumbling with little pressure. If not, try it again at half-minute intervals until you have found the right dryness for your intentions.

Warning: drying garden herbs in the microwave is time sensitive. A microwave oven causes evaporation by causing the moving water molecules in food to heat. Once moisture is gone you won't be drying the plant, and what's more, it is possible to harm your microwave. You will cook the herb if you have the power too high or set the time for too long. It is necessary to try different things until you discover what works for you particular circumstances.
About the Author
To learn more about drying garden herbs as well as get tips on basic herb gardening, please visit http://basicherbgardeningtips.com/.
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