Dried Herbs - The How Tos of Harvesting, Air Drying, Storing and Using Dried Herbs:
Harvest herbs before they start to flower.
Cut herbs in mid-morning. Let the morning dew dry from the leaves, but pick before the plants are wilting in the afternoon sun.
Cut healthy branches from your herb plants.
Remove any dry or diseased leaves. Yellowed leaves and leaves spotted by disease are not worth drying.
AIR DRYING HERBS
Shake herbs gently to remove any insects.
If you’ve picked your herbs while the plants are dry, you should be able to simply shake off any excess soil. But if necessary, rinse with cool water, spin dry and pat down with paper towels. Give them plenty of air circulation, so they can dry out quickly. Wet herbs will mold and rot.
Using a string, tie together a few springs or branches of herbs in small bunches, do not over crowd.
Hang the bunches of herbs in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight leaves downward.
Allow 7-10 days to dry. Once completely dry the herbs should be crisp and crumble easily.
STORING AND USING DRIED HERBS
Store your dried herbs in air tight containers. You could use small canning jars, recycled glass jars from your pantry or zipped plastic bags.
Label and date your containers. Dried herbs are best used within a year.
Your herbs will retain more flavor if you store the leaves whole and crush them when you are ready to use them.
Discard any dried herbs that show the slightest sign of mold.
Place containers in a cool, dry place away from sunlight especially if containers are clear.
Use about 1 teaspoon crumbled dried leaves in place of a tablespoon of fresh. Drying concentrates the flavors, so you don’t need to use as much in recipes.