The Secret To Quick And Easy Dried Herbs

Now that summer has reached its mid-point, it’s probably safe to say that any culinary academy student that has been cooking with fresh homegrown herbs can’t imagine going back to buying them dried at the store. However, if you don’t have room for several potted plants in your home at the end of the summer, your supply will run out and you’ll be heading to the supermarket for flakes of seasoning to flavor your meals with. Or, you could dry your own herbs and continue to reap the benefits of the intense flavors that were cultivated in your backyard.

Misconceptions: Herbs must hang dry
Admit it. When you heard the phrase “dry your own herbs,” you immediately imagined a picturesque cottage in the country with bundles of fragrant herbs hanging from the kitchen rafters. Many people attending culinary school often think that they can’t dry their own herbs because they don’t have the space to hang them or they don’t really know how to dry herbs without decay. However, hanging herbs is not the only way to create your own seasonings.

Drying made easy
In order to dry your herbs in preparation for the winter, all you need is a baking sheet and your oven. Drying herbs using the traditional method typically takes a couple of weeks to yield properly dried leaves. Oven drying, though, is comparatively quicker, taking only two to four hours to complete the process. How long it actually takes will depend on a few factors:

  • Your oven. Anyone who takes chef courses could probably swear up and down that every oven they’ve used has cooked foods just a little differently than others.
  • The type of herb. Some herbs are naturally drier than their counterparts. Sage needs to be checked on much more frequently than others because it is more likely to catch fire. Basil, on the other hand, is a very juicy leaf and will take longer to dry out.

For the most intense flavor, pick your herbs immediately before drying them. Pluck the leaves from their stems and lie them flat on the baking sheet. Place in an oven at a low heat that doesn’t exceed 180 degrees Fahrenheit (the lower you can set it, the better) for two to four hours. Check on the herbs periodically to make sure they don’t overdry. You’ll know that they are finished when they crumble easily between your fingers without turning to dust. Store your herbs in a cool dark place to maximize their flavor for up to a year.

If you like this post, please be sure to check out the following!

How To Store Herbs
The Difference Between Chives, Scallions And Green Onions
Top 5 Spices Every Chef Should Have


Comments are closed.