This post and the herbs above, have been hanging around my computer and my pantry, awaiting blog launch for quite some time now. All I can say is life happens, blog posts happen later. Although I’m no expert when it comes to herbs and spices, I have a lovely cook’s reference manual and a blogger friend, who happens to be a wonderful chef, to help me out. I love fresh herbs and the unique scents, tastes and colors they impart. Fresh is best, but there’s nothing wrong with dried herbs, especially if you have a bountiful harvest and can’t use them all. Plus, it’s fun to dry them yourself.
Herbs and spices have been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. I often mention specific health-promoting properties when describing an herb or spice in a recipe. Aside from their appetizing flavors and aromas, many are filled with various vitamins and minerals.
And wasn’t it Cleopatra who used herbs to seduce men? Or was it incense she used? Milk baths? Probably all of the above. Or, maybe it was this lounging-around-topless look. Whatever it was, she went down in history as being quite the shrewd temptress.
I got side-tracked, which is quite common. Back to drying herbs.
drying rosemary, marjoram and dill
what you do
1. Snip herbs, leaving them with long stems. Tie the herbs together and hang them in a dry, dark and well-ventilated area. Hanging them from cabinets in the kitchen is a nice look, but you do want to keep them dry and clean. I moved these from my pantry to a well-lit area to take the photo. You can also put a paper lunch sack around them (poke a few air holes in the sack). That way they’re in the dark and protected from dust.
2. Leave for 2 to 4 weeks, checking occasionally to see if they are adequately dry. Some take longer than others. If they crumble and fall apart when you rub them between your fingers, they’re ready to store.
3. Store them in clean glass jars. I like to keep them intact in relatively long pieces until I want to use them, then I take a piece out and remove the dried leaves. Label, date them and store them away from heat and light. They last six months to a year.
Go forth and dry your herbs. Doing it Cleopatra style is an option.