drying your homegrown herbs

I have been getting a head start on drying herbs from our garden.  I trimmed some of the Spring growth from several of our herb plants to encourage them to bush out and to tidy some of the unruly ones!

There are basically two methods of drying your homegrown herbs: hang them to air dry or
dry them in the oven.
(it can also be done in a microwave but they can burn very quickly!)

fresh rosemary and mint

Start by gathering your herbs from the garden.  Ideally you would do this in the early morning when the essential oils are the strongest.  If it is raining (like it was the morning that I did this) or if you need to wash your herbs, the oven drying method is certainly the fastest and easiest way of drying.

When hanging your herbs to dry make sure that they are completely dry, gather them up like a bouquet and secure with an elastic.  Hang in a well ventilated warm spot in your home and check every week until they are completely dry.  This is the best method for retaining the colour of the herb as drying in the oven does darken the colour.

dried rosemary

To dry herbs in the oven place the herbs on a cookie sheet and bake at about 200-225*F.  A lower temperature will lessen how dark the herbs end up but will take quite a bit longer.  Check the herbs after about half an hour and rub a few leaves to see if they are completely dry.  If not then put them in for another 15-30 minutes and check again.

crushed chocolate mint tea

When you are sure that the herb is completely dry you can crush the leaves so that they are easier to measure when cooking or leave them whole and crush them directly into your cooking.  I crush all of our dried herbs as I am more familiar with using crushed herbs measurements in my cooking.  To do this I use a bowl and the rounded handle of a honey spoon that my hubby made when he was young!  A mortar and pestle is ideal, or just crushing the herbs with your fingers works fine too.  Store in labeled airtight containers away from direct sunlight.  I also like to date each batch so that I know how old the herbs are.

storing dried herbs

My goal is to fill as many of these 1 litre herb jars that I can by the end of summer.  We container garden so this may be a stretch, but the more herbs that we grow ourselves the better for us, the earth and our pocketbook!

This year I will be drying our homegrown:
Lemon balm (tea)
Chocolate mint (tea)
Spearmint (tea)
Peppermint (tea)
Bergamot (tea)
Stevia (sweetener)

Will you be growing herbs this year in your garden?


  1. This post is a keeper - I've just started an herb garden and was wondering about how to go about drying. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Oh I bet the chocolate mint is heavenly! Thanks for sharing at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope you stop by again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/06/eco-kids-tuesday_11.html


I really enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas about the posts that I write here. It's nice to just say hi too!
~ joey ~