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Drying Herbs

basket of fresh herb plants

Harvest your herbs early in the day before essential oils have a chance to dry off. Spray foliage in early morning and let dry, then prune to desired length.

When screen drying, bunch drying or brown bagging, choose a dry dark area with good ventilation.

SCREEN DRYING: Screens can be made with a little bit of lumber and some screening you can pick up at any hardware store, or you can use an old window screen. Small leafed herbs (thyme) can be put directly on the screen. Large leafed herbs (basil) should have the foliage removed from the stems. Set the screens in the attic or on top of the refrigerator on top of bricks to ensure air flow. Screens can also be suspended from rafters in a warm attic. Stir herbs daily for even drying.

BUNCH DRYING: Long stemmed herbs (lavenders, mints, yarrow, etc.) dry well this way. Bunch the stems together and tie with a string or rubber band and paper clips. Suspend bunches from a clothes hanger or from hooks or nails.

BROWN BAGGING: This is bunch drying with the added twist of a brown bag with air flaps. This method cuts the problem of dust (or cat and dog hair) accumulating on the herbs. This method is also good in seed drying.

STORING: Strip dried leaves from stems, store in an airtight container away from bright light.

Get more gardening insight from Ashcombe here.

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