Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sun Dry OR Refrigerator Dry Your Herbs & Edibles!

Dear Folks,

You can use the sun to dry your herbs.  You don't need anything fancy.  A tray lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, some paper toweling over to keep the birds and insects off, clothes pins to keep the towel on, a table in the sun, and about 2 days this time of year.

Wash and spin dry the herbs.  Dry stem and all (use the stems as you would any tough herb like bay that you would remove from the food before serving).  (Picture to right shows drying tomatoes and herbs.)

Keep in the sun all day long, check at the end of the day and if not completely dry, bring indoors so they do not absorb overnight moisture and set back out the next day.

Store in cool, dry, dark containers and pantry.

You can also dry your edibles on paper towels or plates in the refrigerator.  All of us have had something dry out in the frig at one time or another.  Modern refrigerators mimic the commercial freeze-drying process, constant removal of moisture in a chilly environment.  (Pictures shows Stevia and a hot pepper dried.)

I do this for small bunches and in the winter when there is not enough hot sun.  The benefit of drying in the refrigerator is that it keeps more of the color, and essential oils intact for better aroma and flavor.

I had the happy fortune at a flea market a couple of years ago to pick up the trays used for a dehydrator (sans the base) and gave me more drying space in the sun.  (Picture is carrots, celery, herbs, kale and lettuce drying to make my homemade vegetable bouillon.)

Yesterday I started a new set of herb trays, they will finish out today.  I started labeling the trays as some herbs look similar to each other after drying. :-)

Pictured:  Mexican Oregano, Sage, White Flowering Rosemary (a little sweeter and less piney than standard) and Bay.   If you notice I have the stems drying too.  Makes great additions to soups and stews, remove before serving.  OR if you keep these woody stems longer, they make great kabob skewers.

Dry your herbs while having fun in the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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