Monday, August 8, 2011

Drying Herbs

Last year I dried most of my herbs in my dehydrator but found some of them did not work as well.  Sage takes much too long to dry so I dried it by our wood stove instead.

This year I decided to try drying some of the herbs by hanging them in bunches in the greenhouse.  You are supposed to cut your herbs in the morning before the sun dries out their scented oils.

Last year I dried lots of chocolate mint for tea.  Everyone who tried it loved it.  This year my chocolate mint is not growing very tall so I won't have as much to dry.

I decided to try drying my spearmint and peppermint to see if I like the tea from them.  I have heard from some people that they don't make very nice tea.  I dried a small bunch of each and tried the tea when my sister-in-law was visiting.  Neither of us liked the tea.  I put it down to the weather as this year has been wetter than usual and not as warm. 
Since then I was reading a thread in The Easy Garden about someone else whose mint wasn't very minty.  They were told that if they started the plants from seed they may not come true to the original.  It is best to start mint from a slip from a plant you like instead of seeds.  I may get rid of those mints and expand my chocolate mint.

I also decided to dry some oregano by hanging since it has long stems and small leaves.  I read you are supposed to harvest herbs before they bloom for the best results but I was late with the oregano.  I cut off the flowers and hung it to dry.

Once the bunches were dry, I brought them in to remove the leaves from the stems.

Here you can see a close-up of the dried oregano plants.

The leaves were placed in a bowl and then were crushed into smaller pieces.  The oregano did not smell as strong as they have previously but that could be because they were blooming.

I also cut some sage to dry.  Last year I had tried to dry it in a dehydrator but the leaves are too thick and took too long.

I used young branches as I had previously trimmed back the old woody branches after they bloomed.

I tied the sage in small bunches to hang in the green house.

I also picked stems of lavender to dry.

The little bunches of lavender are so pretty and nicely scented.

I hang the herbs from cup hooks I screwed into the cross beams.  I space the bunches out so they are well ventilated and have room to dry.


  1. Your dried herbs are beautiful. I would have never thought to dry my own mint for tea, what a great idea. You've given me a great project for this weekend.
    the wanna be country girl - Caroline

  2. I bet all those drying herbs give a lovely aroma around your home.

  3. Uh-oh, don’t be so hasty with your spearmint and peppermint! You might not like how they taste as tea, but they work great as medicinal herbs. Like all mints, they help in aiding digestion. Peppermint, in particular, is also great in treating irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also good for soothing headaches and migraines, menstrual cramps, and it even helps get rid of head lice. Spearmint, in the meantime, is great for relaxation, and is also known to aid in the elimination of unwanted hair. So instead of throwing out your spearmint and peppermint, consider finding a different purpose for them other than for tea, so that your efforts in growing them won’t go to waste.