A great way to use up veggies and herbs leftover in the garden is to make seasonings with them.
After making a super greens powder using fresh greens from my garden, I thought I’d make something in the same ballpark… A herb seasoning.
Our herb garden is just booming with thyme, oregano and mint at the moment. This is absolutely wonderful news, it’s just… It’s becoming unmanageable.
So rather than trimming it all back and throwing the herbs in our compost (which was my first thought), I decided to make an an Italian herbs seasoning out of the abundance of herbs we had.
Before we get started in learning how to dry herbs from the garden – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!
How to Dry Herbs at Home
1. Harvest the Herbs
First, you want to collect the herbs you’ll be using. Make sure to wash them well beforehand.
To harvest, cut the healthy herbs, removing any sickly, dried or wilted leaves and any insects you find. Snip individual leaves or cut an entire shoot just above a leaf node. This will promote a healthier, bushier plant because it encourages dormant buds to grow at the nodes.
2. Dry the Herbs
There are a few different methods for drying herbs, so choose one that’s going to work best for the herbs you’ll be using.
Air-drying can produce a purer flavour and is one of the easiest and most common ways to dry herbs. Simply:
- Spread out the individual sprigs of herbs on a baking tray lined with cheesecloth.
- Place in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
- Turn the leaves over regularly, about every 12 hours or so. The herbs will take around 2-3 days to fully dry.
Another way to air dry herbs is in a bundle:
- Tie a small bunch of herbs together with twine or rubber bands. Keep the bundle small to avoid rot or mould growing.
- Hang upside-down in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
- The herbs may take 1-2 weeks or more to completely dry. Once finished, you can hang them in your kitchen and use as needed.
Oven Drying & Using a Dehydrator
Oven-drying is a much faster way to dry herbs, however you must be careful not to burn them:
- Strip the herb’s leaves from their stalks, and lay out on baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Set oven to the lowest possible setting – ideally lower than 37°C (100°F) – and place tray in the oven. To achieve such a low heat, preheat the oven, then turn it off and leave just the light on.
- Leave the door ajar, so that the oven doesn’t get too hot inside and excess moisture can escape.
- Dry the leaves for 30 minutes, then turn them over and continue drying for an another 30 minutes.
- After 1 hour, turn off the oven and allow the herbs to cool (keep them inside the oven).
If you have a dehydrator available, it makes drying herbs so much easier:
- Place the herbs in a single layer on the dehydrator tray.
- Dry on the lowest setting available. Drying may take around 1-4 hours. The herbs are ready once the leaves crumble and the stems break when you bend them.
3. Store the Herbs
Place the herbs in small, airtight containers or glass jars, and keep in a cool, dark dry place like a pantry. Any light or warmth will cause the herbs to deteriorate faster, so avoid displaying them in the open. The herbs may keep for around 6-12 months, but the sooner you use them the better.
Homemade Italian Herbs Seasoning
This recipe is based off the classic Italian seasoning blend, which uses just straight dried herbs.
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tbsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Combine all ingredients in small bowl, and mix to combine.
- Transfer into airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you dried herbs before? How did it go? What method did you use? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,
Monaco, Emily. (Updated: November 23, 2020). How to Dry Herbs at Home: The 3 Best Ways to Preserve Color, Freshness, and Aroma. Organic Authority. Retrieved from https://www.organicauthority.com/live-grow/blogorganicorganic-fooddry-your-own-organic-herbs
Francis, Meagan. (April 10, 2020). How to Preserve Your Garden Herbs. HGTV. Retrieved from https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/herbs/how-to-preserve-your-garden-herbs
Jeanroy, Amy. (Updated: 10/09/2020). Drying Herbs With a Food Dehydrator. The Spruce Eats. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/use-a-food-dehydrator-dry-herbs-1762397
Martin, Ali. (September 13, 2014). Italian Seasoning. Gimme Some Oven. Retrieved from https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/italian-seasoning-recipe/
Nilsson, Holly. (Updated: July 6, 2020). Italian Seasoning. Spend with Pennies. Retrieved from https://www.spendwithpennies.com/homemade-italian-seasoning-recipe/