Preserving: Drying Herbs

TEH-featherbsA few years ago I realized I needed to do something with my huge Oregano bush, so I started drying it and saving it. The coolest thing was realizing a year later that I hadn’t purchased any oregano from the store and had been using my OWN! This got me thinking this year….I want to preserve all the herbs I use regularly so I have them, know where they came from, and don’t have to purchase any, so in addition to the Oregano, Chives, Thyme, Lavender and Lemon Balm I have and use, I planted Marjoram, Tarragon, Mint, Cilantro, Basil, Parsley and Rosemary. I’ve already started harvesting and drying these for the coming year.

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Then I though a little more….beyond culinary herbs. I could grow many of the medicinal herbs that I wanted to store and use. Last year I planted several medicinal herbs and not a single one germinated….I think the spot I planted them in is unlucky….I’ve never had anything grow successfully there. So this year I ripped out the forsythia bushes in the front yard and planted Ginger Mint, Hierba Buena (Spearmint), Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, Bee Balm, Feverfew, Stevia, and Catnep. The ones I planted in containers didn’t do well, but the others are doing great.¬†I’ve also been harvesting Raspberry leaves and drying them for their medicinal properties. I hope to get some Yarrow, Ashwaghanda, and Comfrey going as well….maybe next year.

TEH-herb2It’s so easy to do! You can use a food dehydrator or an oven, or even the sun. Wash them, lay them out, and dry them until they’re crisp.

TEH-herb1Then you can either store them whole, or crush them. I like to store mine semi-whole, and then crush them into whatever I’m making, when I make it. They seem to have more potency, more aroma, more flavor that way.

I use all kinds of jars to store them….recycled glass spice jars (Watkins and Kroger are some), plastic spice jars-especially from spices/herbs I’ve bought in bulk, and even mason jars make great storage containers.

One more way I can be a little self-sufficient, provide good things for my family and save a little money.

Have YOU ever grown and dried your own herbs? Which are your favorites? If you haven’t, give it a try! You can even look for good deals on herbs at your local grocery or farmers market.

Drying herbs is one more way to make peace and PREPAREDNESS a part of every day life. Have a great day!