Have you started a herb garden in spring and now you don’t know what to do with it all? Growing and harvesting herbs is only half the battle. The other is to dry and store them properly, otherwise you won’t be able to use them. If you didn’t manage to do that this year, you can keep these tips in mind next year when you decide to grow, harvest and dry herbs. A few basic rules are most important:
- You should dry them as soon as possible after picking them,
- they should not remain in a thick layer for more than an hour after picking,
- continuous air circulation is extremely important.
Where to start drying?
A well-ventilated and dry room is ideal for proper and successful drying of herbs. It is best if you choose an attic or cellar. However, you can dry just as well in your living room. Keep in mind that the room should not be dusty or too dirty. Forget about the kitchen or bathroom, as there is too much moisture and these rooms are definitely not suitable as drying rooms.
You can also dry outside, but only in warm, dry weather, which is quite difficult to achieve. Drying in direct sunlight is bad for most herbs, so you should opt for shade if you wish. Herbs in the sun can quickly burn and turn black, and this applies not only to drying but also to growing them. When you start an herb garden, you should keep this in mind. In addition, you should dry as soon as possible so that the plants do not rot or become infested with pests during the drying process.
Species where you are harvesting the whole flower or longer sections are ideal to tie into smaller bundles and hang. Most of the time, however, you will be drying leaves, flowers or roots. In that case, it’s best to use grates, screens, low paper boxes or another surface that you line with absorbent paper. Here, stick to the rule that they must always be in a thin layer and you must turn them frequently. Be sure to wash, clean and dry the roots well before you start drying them.