Harvesting and Drying Herbs
|Basil planted between tomatoes gives it shade to prevent bolting.|
As they grow, the more you snip, the more you get. I like to go out once a week and "prune" them. As you start to accumulate more than you can use at a time, you need to consider preserving the harvest.
The most common method the hanging method. Herbs are tied and hung, head side down, in a warm place that is out of direct sunlight. Depending on the humidity, this should take a week or two. The leave should be crisp like cornflakes when they are ready to store.
Another air dry method is to lay them on a screen or rack in a warm place out of the sun. Turn them every day or so. This will take about a week to get to cornflake texture.
Oven drying is another method. Heat the oven to 100 degrees. Higher than that will burn them. Set them on a rack and turn after 20 or 30 minutes, then let them dry another 20- 30 minutes. Keep the oven door slightly ajar to let the excess moisture out. Again, you're looking for cornflake texture.
The last method, and the one I use, is a food dehydrator. Simply lay the stalks across the trays in as much of a single layer as possible.
Turn the dehydrator on and let them dry for 1 to 2 days. Again, it depends on the thickness and size of the leaves or flowers.
So are you ready to start growing some herbs!! Come back for more ideas on what to do with them after they are dried!
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