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Dehydrating Herbs in Your Own Kitchen

August 22, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADehydrating herbs is one of the easiest ways to add to the household budget while on a budget. There are so many options available and even those with limited room available can have a wonderful assortment of fresh herbs as well as plenty of herbs to dry.

For the purposes of the article here, some easy culinary herbs that are useful around the kitchen are also inexpensive to start in a container. A bucket or pot is a wonderful way to contain mint, which can be invasive if left unchecked. People think of mint and most people think of peppermint or spearmint – two of the most popular. When you have your own you also can have chocolate mint, apple, lime, lemon and several other varieties of mint.

Basil is another popular culinary herb. The common basil sells it short as there’s purple ruffles, licorice, lemon and several other varieties to try! Oregano is another popular herb easily grown in the container or a raised bed at the corner of the deck or patio. Rosemary takes some TLC to get established but offers a prolific amount of cut rosemary sprigs. The easiest way to dry herbs is gently rinse them, gently shake the major water off of them and carefully lay them in the dehydrator.

Small herbs that are likely to fall apart you can use fabric to “line” the dehydrator tray. Use caution what part of the dehydrator you put them in so there is good air flow but not too much heat which can “cook” your herbs. Ideally you want them to be dark green when dried. Keep an eye on them and turn them if need be to insure all areas get exposed to dry. Some people use an oven for drying while others use the time honored screens in the yard air drying.

Whichever method you use times can vary depending on temperature, humidity in the air and moisture in the plants themselves. Many also secure them in a paper bag, hanging in an out of the way, well ventilated spot to dry. Whichever method you use keep dust and bugs to a minimum to maintain quality and sanitation of your finished product. Use caution when using strong herbs such as garlic or onion with more aromatic herbs.

When dry the herbs should crumble easily – this allows for crumbling to use in cooking dishes, as a garnish on top and, for some types of herbs in tea balls for home grown, home dried home prepared herbal tea! How to use your dried herbs? Besides as a garnish, flavor enhancer, tea and in a wide range of things from casseroles to breads?

Check into drying herbs whether it’s herbs you buy or that you grow yourself. If you have plenty of rosemary or sage on hand it’s easier to experiment with it, especially knowing with good care there will be more next year and more cuttings this year for some plants! Consider what you’d use more of if you had it. Dehydrating is easy to do and worth the effort for good quality home grown herbs.

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