Need to learn how to preserve fresh herbs you’ve been growing? Learn how to easily dry fresh herbs in a food dehydrator. Dried herbs store easily and can be used to flavor your recipes just like the garden variety.
Spring and summer are the seasons of abundance. We enjoy long days, plenty of sunshine, and crops of whatever we want to grow adorn our gardens. Whether you container garden or have an actual garden outdoors, you likely have an abundance of fresh herbs. With fall here and cooler weather striking, you need to know how to preserve your fresh herbs to use throughout the winter season! Dried herbs store easily and preserving your abundant summer herb harvest isn’t as hard as you might think. Let’s learn how to dry fresh herbs using a food dehydrator.
How to preserve fresh herbs:
- Preheat your dehydrator with the thermostat set between 95-115ºF.
- Make sure your herbs are as dry as possible. Blot any moisture off with a towel.
- Place the herbs on the dehydrator trays in a single layer.
- Small leaves can remain on the stems. Remove larger leaves from thick stems to shorten the drying time.
- Drying times will vary depending on the moisture content of your herbs. Fine herbs like mint will dry quickly. Moisture-filled herbs will dry more slowly. The process will take between 1-4 hours depending on the herb type(s).
- Check your herbs periodically for dryness.
- If you are using a stacked dehydrator, place the heartier herbs on bottom and the lighter herbs on top. It will be easier to remove the faster-drying herbs if they are on top.
- Be sure to keep track of which herbs are in each tray. Once the herbs dry, it’s harder to tell which is which.
- The dried herbs flavors won’t blend so you can dry any combination of herbs at the same time.
- The herbs are dry when the leaves crumble and the stems break when bent.
- After you remove the herbs from the dehydrator, allow them to cool before storing to avoid condensation forming.
How to store dried herbs:
Store dried herbs in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry location (pantries or cabinets are great). Try to store the dried herbs as whole leaves as this best preserves their flavor and aroma. You can easily crush them before using them in your recipes. For best flavor, use the herbs within six months to one year.
This all might sound like a lot of work, but it’s really just time and you’ll be thankful for aromatic spices all winter long. The hands on time is very minimal and the reward is great. Enjoy all of your newly preserved herbs in all of your favorite recipes all year long!