Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Drying Herbs

Yesterday was a very busy day for our family.  I got up early for once and had so much done before 10am I was kind of amazed with myself.  I first loaded my dehydrator with herbs and got that going.  Then I canned carrots.  My son's rabbit kindled a litter of baby bunnies!!! She had 4.  Mom and babies are doing well.  Her first litter last month were all still born.  So we are so happy that we have 4 little ones.  I will have to get a picture soon, but mom was not very happy with me yesterday when I was looking in her box!!  I also had to do laundry but found out I was out of laundry soap.  So I had to make up a triple batch of laundry soap.  Then my boys had their end of the year cub scout picnic.  So I had to make food for that!!  So today I need to clean up from all that I did yesterday!!!  But I did grab my camera and took pictures of a few things I did yesterday. So I have enough to blog about for the week!!!

Here are a few tips on drying herbs.  Herbs should not be dried any hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  For optimal quality you should harvest your herbs in the morning when the dew is still on them.  You first need to wash your herbs.  I fill my sink with the herbs and cover with cold water.  This knocks off any dirt, grass, weeds, insects, and pollen or dander that may have collected on the herbs. 
Next I remove the leaves from the stems and discard the stems.  I will put the leaves in a colander and let sit for a little bit to remove excess water.  Then you can load your dehydrator.  Sometimes if I am unable to harvest herbs in the morning I do harvest in the evening.  I wash the herbs but it is too late to load the dehydrator so I will put the prepared herbs in gallon Ziploc bags and put in the  fridge.  The next morning I will then load the dehydrator.  This also works well when I have more herbs than will fit in my dehydrator.  I just keep pulling out the next bag and refilling the dehydrator as each batch finishes drying. 

I load the trays right on the dehydrator.  Here is the bottom tray filled with lemon balm.

Here is the second tray filled with lemon balm also

The third tray is filled with pineapple mint. Isn't it pretty with its white and green leaves!!

The top tray is filled with peppermint!! My favorite!

Now I set the dehydrator on the herb setting which is 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  I put  on the lid and plug it in.  I dry herbs in the basement.  My husband can't stand the smell of certain herbs drying.  He says they all smell like weeds. 

About 4-6 hours later your herbs will be dry.  Depending on how wet they were and how full you filled the dehydrator. 

Next it is time to unload your dehydrator and store your herbs in air tight containers.  I normally store mine in gallon Ziploc bags labeled with the name of the herb. 


Pineapple Mint

Lemon Balm

Herbs that are ready to be stored.  I am actually using these tomorrow night at church. I am teaching a hands on workshop on the use of herbs.  This is a follow up to the session I taught earlier this month that was on Herbs in the Bible!

I will continue to dry herbs all summer through fall.  I just keep adding to my bags until they are full.  I make a wonderful mint medley tea out of pineapple mint, peppermint, and spearmint.  It has a wonderful flavor.  I am out of it so I need the herbs to grow so I can start harvesting and drying.  Right now we are just starting to plant the garden so it is a good time to harvest and dry herbs.  By July I will be canning and that will last until October!!  


Heritage Farmgirl said...

Hi Dina. Thank's for joining my blog today. You can call me Martha too, however I saw her show once and found her to be too full of herself, so I am just in the Martha philosophy of homemaking.I ordered a dehydrator this morning from our local hardware store.I shall have it Friday. Last week when my Dearest went camping I bought all this dried fruit and thought I was mad doing so when we grow so much of our own, just not in May! But I will be next May! I like the tea idea. Our family are peppermint tea drinkers. Thanks for sharing.


Amanda said...

I'm so glad to see someone else doing some dehydrating!! I haven't done any herbs, but I've wanted to for so long! I hope that you keep it up :) I like reading dehydrating posts! And I'm so glad to see you're teaching a class about it! I wish I could go through your herb classes. It would be very interesting to learn about the herbs from the Bible.