How to Dry Herbs at Home + Italian Herbs Seasoning

Using up the veggies and herbs in my garden to make seasonings and recipes with.

After making a super greens powder using fresh greens from my garden, I thought I’d make something in the same ballpark… herb seasoning.

Our herb garden is just booming with thyme, oregano and mint, and rather than trim it all back and throw the herbs in the compost, I wanted to blend them into an Italian herbs seasoning.

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!!

Before and after harvesting herbs from my garden; there was so much thyme that I just cut it right back, along with the oregano, rosemary, and sage. Once I stripped back the thyme, I noticed we had some new parsley sprouts growing through (the parsley we had growing before self-seeded!).

If you dry out some herbs at home or make this Italian herbs mix, please let me know! Leave a comment below, and if you take a picture and share it, please tag me on Instagram @simplynaturalnessa or use the hashtag #simplynaturalnessa so I can see! I’d love to know how you went!

How to Dry Herbs at Home

Here’s 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 before using.

To harvest; Cut 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.

All the herbs I’d collected to turn into a dried herb seasoning!

2. Dry the Herbs

There are a few different methods for drying herbs, so choose the one that’s going to work best for the herbs you’ll be using.

Air Drying

Air-drying herbs can produce a purer flavour and is one of the easiest ways to dry herbs! Simply:

  1. Spread out individual sprigs of herbs on a baking tray lined with cheesecloth.
  2. Place in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
  3. 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:

  1. Tie a small bunch of herbs together in a bundle with twine or rubber bands. Keep the bundle small to avoid rot or mould growing.
  2. Hang upside-down in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
  3. 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.
An example of drying herbs in a bundle; I dried my lavender this way to make lavender oil.

Oven Drying & Using a Dehydrator

Oven-drying is a much faster way of drying herbs, however you must be careful not to burn them:

  1. Strip the herb’s leaves from their stalks, and lay out on baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Set oven to the lowest possible setting – ideally lower than 37°C (100°F) – and place tray in oven. To achieve such a low heat, preheat the oven, then turn it off and leave just the light on to keep at low temperature.
  3. Leave the door ajar, so that the oven doesn’t get too hot inside and excess moisture can escape.
  4. Dry leaves for 30 minutes, then turn them over and continue drying for an another 30 minutes.
  5. After 1 hour, turn off the oven and allow the herbs to cool in the oven.

If you have a dehydrator available, it makes drying herbs so much easier:

  1. Place herb leaves in a single layer on the dehydrator tray.
  2. Dry herbs on lowest setting possible. Typical drying time is 1-4 hours. Herbs are dry when the leaves crumble and the stems break when you bend them.
Before and after drying my herbs in a dehydrator; it worked wonderfully, and was ready in about 4 hours!

3. Store the Herbs

Place the herbs in small, airtight containers or glass jars, and keep in a cool, dark 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.

DIY Italian Herbs Seasoning

This recipe is based off the classic Italian seasoning blend, which uses just straight dried herbs.

Ingredients:

  • 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

To make:

  1. Combine all ingredients in small bowl, and mix to combine.
  2. Transfer into airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
My herb seasoning when finished! It turned out SO WELL, and was a fantastic way to use up the extra herbs in my garden rather than composting them.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

Have you dried herbs before? How did it go? What method did you use? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

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/