Another easy way to preserve herbs is to dry them. There are several methods you can use to dry herbs. Choose your favorite and get those herbs drying. You won't regret it this winter when you have home-grown herbs to cook with (or use in tea)!
Harvest your herbs in the morning when the dew is dry and the oils in your herbs are the most intense. Wash your herbs thoroughly and pat dry. Now you're ready to begin drying your herbs with one of the following methods.
Hang-Dry: This is pretty self-explanatory. Gather your herbs into a bundle, tie with string (or yarn if you have it ;)) and hang in a cool, dark area. When your herbs are crisp dry (no moisture), remove from the stems (crush any large leaves as needed) and put into clean, sterilized (dry) jars/containers. Store in a cool, dark place.
Sun or Oven Drying: Remove leaves from stems (chop any large leaves as needed....basil comes to mind....) and place on paper towels (or parchment paper). If drying in the sun, place the paper towel on the counter in front of a sunny window. If drying in the oven, place paper towel (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet and place in the oven with the light on (or pilot light). In 12-24 hours, check herbs for dryness. They should be crisp, with no signs of moisture. Remove and put into clean, sterilized (dry) jars/containers. Store in a cool, dark place.
Microwave Drying: Remove leaves from stems (chop any large leaves as needed....again, basil comes to mind....) and place on paper towel covered (or parchment paper covered) microwave-safe plate. Process in 30 second intervals (check frequently to be sure you aren't burning) until herbs are crisp with no signs of moisture. Place in clean, sterilized (dry) jars/containers. Store in a cool, dry place.
Dehydrator Drying: Place (prepared) herbs on the drying trays in a preheated (90F - 100F temperature) dehydrator. Check for dryness after 2 - 3 hours. Depending on the humidity in the air, your herbs could take as long as 24 hours to dry. Herbs should be crisp with no signs of moisture (crush any large leaves as needed). Place in clean, sterilized (dry) jars/containers. Store in a cool, dry place.
When using dried herbs in recipes make sure to use only 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of fresh herbs as the oils in dried herbs are more intensified than fresh herbs. If you want some recipes for mixed herbs and spices, check out these pins. You can also use your dried herbs to infuse oils. Check out this post and this post , they have some great (safety) tips regarding infused oils. Wouldn't these make great gifts for the cook (or tea lover) on your gift list? You could even combine them with other kitchen related items for a pretty gift basket. Doesn't someone you know need some homegrown dried herbs? You still have "thyme" to get started!
Happy Herb Harvesting!