My herbs are growing like crazy this year!! And I really don’t want to waste them so… since I had success with drying mint leaves I thought I would try to dry some herbs, Parsley, Basil and Thyme.
There is nothing like fresh herbs to add to you recipes but over the winter it’s kinda hard to keep fresh herbs on hand and those little packets of herbs you get at the store are not always in the best condition and they can be a little pricey too.
And even though I have a decent green thumb, I have never had success with herbs indoors. But now that I think of it, I have not tried since I moved in my house. Maybe I’ll give it a try this winter.
So, let’s get started. You will need paper plates and paper towels. I also used parchment paper to put the dried herbs on before I crumbled them but you could use another paper plate.
You will also need airtight containers to store them in, you can buy cute little jars to do this or just save jars from jelly or condiments. Label each jar with the name of the herb and the year. The dried herbs should be good for a year.
After selecting the herb you want to dry first, make good cuttings and make sure you rinse off any dirt and bugs. I like to set the herbs in a glass jar with a little water to keep them fresh, then when the leaves are completely dry you can begin the drying process. You do NOT want to dry the herbs while they are still wet, the heat from the microwave will cook them instead of drying.
Parsley: This was a little bit of a challenge until I got it figured out! First I tried the oven knowing it would get brown, but I gave it a shot, but it stank! Smelled burnt instead of dried. Then I tried the microwave and they actually caught fire and threw sparks… What the HECK!!!
The first time I tried drying them in the microwave, I just put them on a glass plate like I did my mint. I was surprised when they actually sparked! Then I tried putting a shot glass with just a little water in it, back in the corner of the microwave. All that did was add more moisture which I figured it would but after seeing the sparks fly, I thought it was at least worth a shot! Lastly I used paper plates and covered the parsley with paper towels. And that worked like a charm!
Just lay out the parsley on a paper plate, a single layer, cover with paper towels and then nuke them in 30 second increments until they are completely dry and easily crumble when you touch them. Check the parsley after each 30 second increment. Depending on the parsley, the time to dry will vary. I had some stems that had large thick leaves and then I had some stems that had smaller, thinner leaves which did not take as long.
I also left the dried parsley sit on parchment paper for several hours before I crumbled them. You don’t have to do that but I just wanted to make sure they were completely dry.
Basil: Again, lay the leaves on a paper plate in a single layer and not overlapping, and cover with paper towels. Nuke them in 20 or 30 second increments. My basil leave actually left off steam as they dried. I may have slightly panicked at first but then I put a paper towel over them and the drying process went well.
Nuke them in increments until they are dry. I left the leaves sit for a few hours before crumbling. I did run across one or two that were not completely dry so I popped them back in for a few seconds until they were crumbly.
Thyme: I just love this herb, it has to be one of my favorites. I put it in just about everything; scrambled eggs, quiche, soups, roasts, pasta salads, LOVE it!
I did the same with the thyme, laying sprigs of thyme on a paper plate and cover with a paper towel. The thyme definitely dried quicker and that is because the leaves are much smaller and there is less moisture in the herb.
So I only needed 2 increments of 30 seconds and it was done. After a few minutes I just ran my fingers down the stem and the dried leaves just fell off! Then I folded the paper plate in half and used it as a funnel to slide the herbs into the glass jar.
This was a fun project that I did on a Sunday that was just too darn hot to be outside. I’m sure I will have more herbs later as the plants fill in again. And I plan on giving some dried herbs as gifts too. Better start saving more jars!