Drying Herbs and Roots

Proper Collecting and Drying Techniques Are Very Easy To Do

How To Harvest and Preserve Herbs & Roots For Cooking amd Natural Remedies

Garden Herbs

Drying herbs and roots to preserve them for future use is not a difficult task. A few simple steps are all you need to know in order to be successful. You’ll capture the highest flavor and quality simply by air drying. This method is the easiest "no-hassle" way.

However, that being said, many people utilize their kitchen ovens or use a dehydrator if they wish to speed up the process a bit.

Some basic how-tos for drying herbs are:

  • For the most pungent flavor, pick them early in the day.
  • Make sure to remove dead or discolored leaves.
  • Good air flow with a low humidity level is essential for decreasing the chance of powdery mold developing (a common problem, unfortunately).
  • Have an area that can be dedicated to the drying of your herbs and roots, as it can take a few days to a few weeks for most leaves, stems or flowers; and sometimes many months for roots.
  • Tying together small bunches of stemmed herbs and hanging upside down, or loosely laying them spread out on a large screen, are the two most popular ways for drying herbs.
  • Freezing or using silica crystals are two other common drying methods.
  • Traditionally, for pulverizing or powdering of herbs, a mortar and pestle is used. However, many "modern day" herb gatherers use a small electric coffee grinder, or even a blender, with great success. (And they ONLY use the appliance for this.)
  • To retain maximum flavor or to best preserve the herbs’ medicinal properties, store in an amber glass or ceramic container. Many people also fill the "empty space" in the containers with cotton balls to go one-step further towards helping keep them fresh.

Note: LIGHT and OXYGEN are the biggest culprits in destroying the potency of herbs and roots. Keep this in mind when storing them.

rosemary

Here’s a very informative and free downloadable pamphlet from Cooperative Extension Service / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign / College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. It explains all the different ways to dry herbs and preserve them too, with reference to 20 herbs and exactly the best way to dry each one. Click this link to view the Drying Herbs" PDF Guide.

Now, for those of you who wish to read what many herb collectors consider to be THE most informative teaching available on the art of drying herbs and roots, then you can read on-line (or download a copy if you desire) "The Harvester" by Gene Stratton Porter, published in 1911:  Click Here.

The drying herbs and roots information is woven through a wonderful and bittersweet love story. The main character is a natural healer, also. (The book reviews found on Amazon.com for this book are all raves, by the way.) I won’t tell you anymore … you’ll just have to read it for yourself! I guarantee you’ll find it immensely helpful if you are a serious "herb gatherer" and the story is truly mesmerizing.

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