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| Drying Herbs |
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Dianne AuCoin
Posted on: August 4, 1998
I need information on drying herbs. There is lots of information on growing, but the harvesting and drying of the common herbs is what I need. I have tried hanging, convection oven, but would like some knowledgeable tips so I know I am doing it right. Can you help or suggest a publication out there for the novice?
To harvest most herbs, cut off the portion above the bottom 15 centimeters (6 inches) and dry it in gentle heat in as dark a place as possible. For plants forming a rosette only such as parsley, harvest the outer leaves but always leave a good number of young leaves to feed the roots and keep the plant going. Stripping the leaves off the stems speeds the drying process.
The most important tip is not to use excessive heat as such heat vapourizes the essential oils of your herbs and renders them somewhat to totally tasteless! Basil and tarragon are two herbs that are very fragile and lose their taste only too easily. Drying the herbs on a screen in the shade during dry weather is the best method.
You might wish to get the book "Growing and using Herbs Successfully" by Betty Jacobs (available from Richters under catalogue #B4100). It is an excellent introduction for the beginning herb grower and covers drying as well as growing and harvesting.