Drying Fresh Herbs Using a Dehydrator
When it comes to drying fresh herbs a dehydrator is the fastest and easiest way to do it.
For a cheap cost of a couple dollars a plant if purchased prestarted or pennies from seed, I have fresh herbs all season for cooking plus about $15-20 worth of dried herbs of each kind at the end. Not too shabby! Plus I then have a supply of harder to find ones on hand like Lemon-Thyme, specialty basils and Chocolate -Mint.
Here's some simple tips on successfully drying your home grown herbs and spices.
1. Preheat your dehydrator with the thermostat set between 95 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a particularly humid climate, you may want to set your temperature as high as 125 degrees.
2. If your herbs are damp, be sure to gently blot them dry with a towel to remove as much moisture as you can.
3. Place the herbs on the dehydrator trays in a single layer.
4. Small leaves can remain on the stems, but removing larger leaves from thick stems will shorten the drying time.
5. Drying times will vary depending on the moisture content of your herbs. Loose, fine herbs like yarrow and mint will dry more quickly than moisture-filled herbs like plantain or comfrey. Expect 1-4 hours for most herbs.
6. Check your herbs periodically for dryness. I check mine every hour at first then more often.
7. If you are using a stacked dehydrator, place the harder-to-dry herbs on the bottom and the lighter herbs on the top. It will be easier to remove the faster-drying herbs if they are on top.
8. Be sure to keep track of which herbs are in each tray – it may be difficult to tell them apart when they are dried.
9. You can dry any combination of herbs at one time as the flavors will not blend.
10. If you are drying roots, scrub the dirt from them, pat dry, and cut into ¼ to ½- inch pieces. The roots will harden when dry, usually within 6 – 10 hours.
11. The herbs are dry when the leaves crumble and the stems break when bent. After you remove the herbs from the dehydrator, allow them to cool before storing to avoid condensation forming.
Siam Queen Basil has a licorice flavour.
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