The way to ensure that you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the winter months is by spending a bit of time creating dried herbs for your cooking pleasure, that way could also save your money as well 🙂
How To Enjoy Dried Herbs Year Round
If you have spent your spring and summer planting and cultivating your herb garden, you are not going to want to see all of your hard work go to waste once the snow begins to fly. The way to ensure that you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the winter months is by spending a bit of time creating dried herbs for your cooking pleasure. With a little bit of time and work, you can preserve your herbs to use whenever you like, no matter what the season.
There are many methods to achieving dried herbs, but the best is probably the air-dry method. Drying herbs this way is usually most effective with those herbs that have lower moisture content. Oregano, rosemary, marjoram, dill and summer savoury all fall into this category. Those with higher moisture content, like tarragon or basil will usually dry better in the freezer or dehydrator. However, if you keep the bunches of branches on the small side, you can air dry these herbs as well.
Steps To Dried Herbs
To successfully dry herbs, it is best to harvest your plants before they begin to flower. You should cut your branches after the morning dew has burned off in the sunlight, but before the hotter afternoon sun begins to make your plants wither. Select from your healthiest branches, and make sure that you trim off all diseased or dried leaves. It is also a good idea to pull all of the leaves off of the bottom inch of your branch before drying herbs.
Put your branches together in bundles of six or seven, and tie the end with a piece of string or a rubber band. Keep in mind that dried herbs have a tendency to shrink, so you will need to keep an eye on your band to ensure that your branches do not begin to slip out. Once you have your bundles of dried herbs ready to go, you can place them in a brown paper bag that has a number of holes punched into it. Hang these bags in a cool, dark place and give them about two weeks before checking on your dried herbs.
Once your herbs are completely dry, you can store them in airtight containers for use during the rest of the season. These containers can be as simple as zip-lock bags with labels on the front, or you can use small canning jars with labels attached to the side. Make sure that you do label all of your containers, since it can be hard to tell the difference between your marjoram and summer savoury.
Dried herbs can be a wonderful addition throughout the winter months until you can get back out to your garden to begin growing fresh herbs once again. With a little bit of time and effort, you can enjoy the fruits of your garden labor all year long.