DIY Garden: Dehydrating Fresh Herbs

DIY Garden: Dehydrating Fresh Herbs

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DIY dried herbs

I distinctly remember the first time I saw jars of organic spices on the grocery store shelf. Before then, it hadn’t occurred to me that even the spices we use in our daily cooking are at risk of being plagued with pesticides or genetically modified seeds. That was inspiration for me to try my hand at this DIY project of harvesting and dehydrating organic spices, from my Aunt’s lush herb garden.

herb garden

Not only does Auntie Suzie have the most incredible herb garden, but she is quite the foodie. I think she has every gadget and appliance known to man in her basement, that is set up like a department store!

basement storage

Could you imagine all of these housewares at your disposal?

If you have fresh herbs in your garden (or access to them from a friend or family member’s garden), here’s how you can dehydrate and save them for use all year long.

Supplies
Freshly snipped herbs
Bowl
Dish towel or paper towels
Colander or sieve
Parchment paper
Food dehydrator
Spice grinder, or food processor
Empty spice jars
Labels or permanent marker

Directions:

1. Take your freshly cut herb of choice, and pull the leaves or needles into a clean bowl. Some herbs are more labor intensive than others. For example, small oregano and thyme leaves take longer to remove than the larger leaves of basil or sage.

how to make dried herbs

2. Once you have removed all stems, brown leaves and flowers, place them in a sieve or colander, and give them a good wash in the sink. Set out the wet leaves on a clean dishtowel, or paper towels, overnight, to dry completely.

dried rosemary

3. Next, place your herbs on the tray of your dehydrator. Smaller herb leaves and needles will need a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit the size of the tray, to prevent them from falling through the slots.

Note: The parchment sheet for smaller herbs can be used multiple times.

dried sage

dired chives

4. Let the dehydrator work its magic! One night in the machine was enough time for my herbs to fully dry.

DIY dried herbs

5. Use a spice grinder, or food processor, and separately grind each variety. A spice grinder is the same thing as a coffee bean grinder, but specifically used only for spices. Be careful to keep track of your herbs, if you are unsure of their scent. Clean grinder between each different herb.

spice storage

6. Pour each herb into an empty jar, and label accordingly. Sometimes I write directly on the jar with permanent marker if labels aren’t readily available.

Tips: If you would rather dry your spices by hanging in bunches in a dry space, go for it! You can also substitute a spice grinder for a mortar and pestle.

Enjoy the fresh from the garden taste of your labor of love!

we heartsters – what are your favorite spices?

All photos: Rachel for we heart this

Rachel is a stay-at-home Mom that never seems to be home. She’s a military wife, mother to The Danger Boys and a self-proclaimed craftaholic that enjoys photography, knitting, baking and all things handmade.

4 thoughts on “DIY Garden: Dehydrating Fresh Herbs”

  1. I was desperately wishing this whole post was scratch and sniff–dying to smell all those fresh herbs! My only herb that made it though the summer (I kinda have a black thumb) was lemon thyme–definitely going to follow your lead and dry it.

  2. This is super awesome! Your Auntie Suzie is a woman after my own heart! I love the storage units she has and the funniest thing is that I’m planning on getting two utility selves that look a lot like hers for us and for the same reason. I think it looks cool too! Your herbs look great and I think there is nothing better than having your own! I’m so with you!
    We have a huge multi level drying rack to dry our herbs. We have a dehydrator as well, but I like this alternative and some of the readers my consider that as an option since it’s super economical. We are fortunite to grow year round crops here in CA.. We also vacuum seal some of our herbs since we usually have a major bumper stock! People love to get fresh herbs all year round but when you can’t it’s the next best thing.
    GREAT POST!!

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