How to dry garden herbs in the oven

How to dry garden herbs in the oven

Preserve your summer herbs from your garden to use all through the year with a simple oven method. This is a terrific way to use up your summer herb bounty and not let them go to waste.

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Each year I plant an herb garden and we enjoy fresh herbs right from our backyard all though their season. I like to plant a variety of annual herbs and have perennial herbs that come back each year. Since many of them get quite large, I decided I’d start drying some herbs at the end of the summer/early fall.

There are a few ways you can dry herbs such as hanging them in a cool, dry location like your basement, or using a dehydrator. I do hang some bundles of sage to dry, but I also like to use my oven to stock up my spice cabinet with dried herbs to enjoy all through the winter and spring.

What herbs can you dry? You can dry any that you like, but I tend to dry only ones that I generally purchase at the grocery store so I know I will use them. 

I will dry herbs like rosemary, sage, dill, Italian basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and thyme. I generally skip things like mint, Thai basil, and chives, because they are herbs that I prefer to use fresh in my cooking,

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What I dry varies each year depending on the abundance of the herb. This summer I have an over-abundance of sage, oregano, and thyme, so I’ve been working on those already as there is still plenty of fresh on the plants to enjoy until we get a frost.

Dried herbs can be expensive at the grocery store, so I figure why not dry some that I know we will use. I use dried basil and oregano in pasta sauces and pizza. I use sage and thyme for making stuffing, turkey, and gravy at Thanksgiving. I use dill in tuna sandwiches and potato salads. I use many of them in soups and dips.

Using the oven requires no special equipment either. All you need are rimmed baking sheets, parchment or silicone baking mats, storage containers with tight fitting lids, and some time (much of which is hands-off).



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Yield: varies

Author: Amy (Savory Moments)

How to dry garden herbs in the oven

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How to Dry Garden Herbs in the Oven

Preserve your summer herbs from your garden to use all through the year with a simple oven method. This is a terrific way to use up your summer herb bounty and not let them go to waste.

Ingredients:

  • fresh herbs of your choice (amount varies)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Rinse and dry your herbs. For herbs with small leaves and woody stems, such as thyme, the leaves can stay on the stem. For larger leaves, such as sage, remove the leaves from the stems.
  3. Arrange the herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place one sheet on the upper rack and one on the lower rack. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Rotate the pans (switch the top and bottom) and bake for another 10 minutes, then begin to check them. They are ready when they are crunchy to the feel and easily break apart. If they need more time, put them back in for another 3-5 minutes and repeat until they are completely dry. Larger leaves will take longer.
  5. Crumble the leaves into a storage jar. Or, pull the leaves off the stems and then crumble into a storage jar. Discard any stem pieces. Repeat until you have as much as you like for your jar.
  6. Cover with an airtight lid, label, and use within 6 months to a year.

Notes:

You can store the herbs in old spice jars that have been well-washed to avoid transfer of smells and flavors, small jelly canning jars with an air tight lid, or other old jars with lids that you have. Anything you want to keep in your spice cabinet that is airtight. It’s important to make sure the herbs are fully dry at the end of the process. You don’t want moisture to be in the jars when they are stored as this could cause mold to develop.

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I hope you find this tutorial useful for preserving your garden herbs. Let me know in the comments below.

If you want to preserve fresh basil, check out this tutorial on How to Freeze Basil in Olive Oil.

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