I didn't intend to write about this again this year - and yet here we are, late summer and the herb party in my parents' back yard is out of control and I'm back at it, drying bundles of herbs to use throughout the rest of the year.
Here's how I approached it when I prepared this basil, parsley, and rosemary for drying yesterday:
First, I washed the herbs thoroughly but carefully, ensuring I got all of the bugs out but trying not to bruise the delicate leaves. Because they were then sopping wet, I wanted to give them a head start on drying so they didn't drip water on the floor or get moldy when hanging. So, I then dried them off by patting them in a clean towel.
The herbs that I wanted to hang dry - parsley and rosemary - I tied in a bundle with string; we then hang them from the ceiling in the pantry, which is cool and dark. There they'll stay until fully dried, when we'll strip them from their stems and store them in glass jars to use this fall and winter.
If you'd like to remove the leaves from the branches before drying - it can be easier to strip them off when the herbs are fresh than when they're dry and brittle - I like to place them on a cooling rack. This helps the air circulate well and means that I don't have to be careful about turning them so that each side can reach the air, as I might need to if I just placed them on a non-permeable surface, like a dinner plate.
The above little project took me just twenty minutes yesterday, and it makes use of herbs that our garden is producing in such large quantities that they'd just be wasted if we didn't set some aside to dry. If you don't have a garden you can pull from, bundles of herbs are often inexpensive at the farmers' market this time of year, too. I also hope to dry some dill, mint, thyme, and sage before the season is out.
I love the fragrant ritual of spending some time with piles of fresh herbs each summer. Are you planning to do this, too? What herbs do you like to make sure you dry each summer?