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Drying Fresh Herbs Quickly and Easily

May 1, 2008
Image of Fresh Cilantro

Image of Fresh Cilantro

I thought I share some information on how I dry my herbs…

Since some of us are lucky to have gardens, even container gardens, we may be finding we have more herbs than we can use at any one time. I have four containers on my roof as I live in a city and have no access to a plot of earth. Lucky for you that do! And it is wonderful to simply go reach out my window and have access to fresh herbs to use that very moment for cooking my next meal. But at times I need more than I have, especially when I am entertaining.

Now since I love to use seasonings and herbs in my cooking like so many of you here…but I just hate the prices though of spices and herbs – especially when some are easily over $4- for a bottle. Fortunately though, I have a local spanish/international grocery store that sells affordable fresh herbs – such as an extra large amount of rosemary for $2 or basil for $1.50 – now that I can afford. I find this store to be more affordable and even has better looking fresh herbs available than the local A&P or Stop-n-Shop (I’m in NY)

After just a couple of days though I am ready to create fresh dry herbs. I simply take them out of their packaging, place them on a plate and let them air dry either on top of the fridge or at the back of the stove. Within two or four days, these herbs are now dried, and can reuse the clean and sterilized ‘old’ spice bottles and even recycled clean jam jars with screw lids for my new freshly dried seasonings. As they dry you should turn them over so that all the herbs on the plate can be dried.

If it’s thyme or rosemary, I might, once dry, take off the leaves from the stems as I would do with cilantro or parsley and the like. These freshly dried herbs are so much better than the spices you can buy at the store, their strength in smell and taste cannot be compared to those you buy already dried in a store.

And lastly, when using the freshly dried herbs, simply squash them up in your hand before adding to your dishes, stews and soups.

The above techniques can also be used when you grow your own herbs…

Hope this helps some of you out there in cyberland!

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