Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

What's the best way to dry herbs?

(20 Posts)
phoenix Sun 21-Aug-16 17:46:00

Afternoon all, yesterday I was given a beautiful "bouquet" made up of bunches of fresh herbs from a friend's garden.

Each different herb was tied together, then the whole lot assembled, looked gorgeous and the smell of the combined bunches was absolutely lovely!

There is mint, sage, rosemary, thyme and either marjoram or oregano.

Should I just hang them in the kitchen, or put them in the airing cupboard?

(Didn't have this problems when my parents had a 4 oven Aga, would just hang them above that !)

TriciaF Sun 21-Aug-16 18:07:26

Or you could separate them into small mixed bunches , wrap in clingfilm and freeze them.
Or separately, wrap the stems in damp paper towel, then in a plastic bag in the salad box of your fridge.
Or why not try to grow them yourself in pots? They're much better used fresh. IMO.

TriciaF Sun 21-Aug-16 18:13:48

Sorry, I should have made the point that I think herbs lose some of their perfume when dried. Could be wrong.

aggie Sun 21-Aug-16 18:17:20

Mr Google says the kitchen ain't a good place to dry them , one idea is in a low oven on baking trays with the door open . Herbs have always been dried for use when they are not available fresh , ie winter !
Google it smile

phoenix Sun 21-Aug-16 18:26:33

Bugger, just wrote a post which disappeared!

Used to grow loads of veg & herbs when with exdh. Might make my pizza sauce, that will be the fresh oregano/marjoram and should freeze ok.

Anya Sun 21-Aug-16 19:30:53

I dry things like herbs, onions, garlic, lavender, bay leaves, etc in one of those concertina toy holders you can get at IKEA. I just hang it up in the conservatory until job done.

Alternatively you can buy little muslin bags and pop the herbs into those and hang them up somewhere warm.

Yes they lose some of their potency but I just use extra.

Alishka Sun 21-Aug-16 19:51:53

Hang upside down, ambient temp, but out of direct sunlight, is the way I go.
Atm, tho, I'm drying sage leaves on a tray in the oven. Minimum temp til they get desiccated. Have done curry leaves this year that way..
I use a LOT of rosemary in my cooking (made parsnip rock cakes type things today which uses a lot of chopped rosemary) but honestly, as it's a perennial, I've got growing in the garden. I don't bother preserving any.

POGS Sun 21-Aug-16 21:00:31


No idea but I remember going into a pub at Exeter some years ago and asked my sister what was that hanging from the beams and cool air fan.

She grinned and said 'Cannabis'.

Have you any beams in your house grin

Neversaydie Mon 22-Aug-16 01:38:59

Daughter wanted to 'smudge'her new house to get rid of any bad vibes (yes I know....)You burn them and waft the smoke around .We found fresh herbs wouldn't catch fire so I microwaved some sage .Worked a treat

TriciaF Mon 22-Aug-16 11:28:02

Has anyone tried to grow herbs in pots indoors, through the winter?
My favourite herb is basil, and that doesn't survive the winter outside. Not sure about parsley, but rosemary and thyme do.
Also bay leaves - there's a small bay tree down the lane and that lasts in cold weather.

LumpySpacedPrincess Mon 22-Aug-16 11:32:10

We have an electric dryer, it's brilliant! We dry herbs, fruit, mushrooms etc, great way of preserving if you're the foraging type.

Nelliemoser Mon 22-Aug-16 11:54:05

Don't dry them so they lose their flavour.

Chop them and freeze them in containers! I use all sorts like this. When I buy a small pack of chillies I do the same.
Cut them into slices,take the seeds out and freeze them. You throw a lot of manky odds and ends otherwise.
After handling chillies wash your hands well with a cooking oil first, then wash them in water. The chemicals in chillies Capsaicins are carried in the oil.

Parsley works well , Dill and coriander to cook with, lovage, chives if you want to. Give it a try.
It's one really good thing about having a freezer. Sage and rosemary are tough and survive our winters.

JackyB Mon 22-Aug-16 12:05:35

I think I read somewhere that you can dry them in the microwave.

However, my favourite way to buy them is chopped small and preserved in oil. I've never tried making that myself, though.

The advantage of preserving them in oil is that you can drop a spoonful into anything you're cooking, but also into salad dressings.

I found an American site which combines the best suggestions mentioned above: Chop the herbs finely and then distribute them into ice cube trays, pour on oil and freeze.

We make loads of pesto every summer and from bitter experience, I know that, despite the oil being a preserving medium, any amount of sterilising jars will not prevent mould forming, so I now freeze the pesto in single portion packs. But that is a very messy business, both the freezing and the thawing out, so this ice cube tray idea is brilliant.

Greyduster Mon 22-Aug-16 12:39:09

I freeze parsley and basil in ice cube trays and in truth, that is about all I use these days, in spite of growing parsley, sage, rosemary, chives, oregano and mint outside the back door! I even took cuttings off my old sage plant this year and they are doing really well, but I never use it except sometimes as a tea for sore throats in the winter, and then I'm the only one who can be persuaded to drink it! We have a large walk in airing cupboard here and I have dried oregano in there successfully - gave it away to DS as he uses it a lot.

Ilrina Mon 22-Aug-16 16:00:26

I hang mine from a shelving unit in my kitchen, it has a kind of open pattern at the top so I can bunch them and hang them upside down like that. The unit doesn't get direct sunlight. No matter what Mr Google says , it works well for me.

agar46 Thu 22-Oct-20 21:03:21

Air-drying works best for low-moisture herbs like marjoram, oregano, rosemary and dill. Herbs like basil, chives and mint contain more moisture and it's best to dry them in a dehydrator or oven.

Marydoll Thu 22-Oct-20 21:49:26

I have a large herb garden, but in winter I buy pots of herbs from supermarkets and keep on the windowsills.
I find Lidl and Aldi have the best quality and are also the cheapest.

Washerwoman Fri 23-Oct-20 13:24:27

I shred basil then pop it into a silicon muffin tray and pour some olive oil on top.Not swimming but enough to push the basil down into.Then freeze,then pop out individual blocks and bag up in the freezer.Then for a pasta dish I use a thawed out a block to stir through.Tried it first when I grew too much but wanted some for over winter.

Washerwoman Fri 23-Oct-20 13:25:38

Ps means to say grew on from a supermarket pot split into 4 and reported.So one pot provides much more.

Kseniya Sat 24-Oct-20 19:48:40

I just hang them in bunches in the kitchen, and then I collect and put away in jars