ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Learning to Dry Herbs

Updated on July 29, 2015

Hub #30 of my "30 Hubs in 30 Days" Challenge

Over the past few years, I've been conducting an experiment of sorts in my herb garden. You see, I've always used dried herbs in my cooking but when I bought my house there was a small herb garden in the backyard. After inviting a friend (and plant expert) over to help me identify the plants, I began experimenting with using the fresh herbs in my cooking. Needless-to-say, I was pleasantly surprised with the improved flavor that the fresh herbs provided. I also liked knowing that the plants were organically grown. However, I soon realized that there were far more plants growing in the herb garden than I could use. In addition, I began to notice just how expensive it is to buy dried herbs at the grocery store. From that point on, I vowed to learn how to dry my own herbs.

First Things First

Being a certifiable bookaholic, my first step to learning anything new is to visit my local library is search of books on the topic. Unfortunately, the two local libraries are both pretty small and neither one had any really helpful books on this topic.

So, I did what I do best: I decided to "wing it."

I've seen numerous Jane Austen era movies over the years that have scenes where young ladies are hanging plants to dry. So, I decided to imitate them (and hope that even though they were on television their behavior was close enough to the real thing!).

Fresh parsley growing in my garden.
Fresh parsley growing in my garden. | Source
Washed and hung in bunches
Washed and hung in bunches | Source
Dried parsley ready to "crunch" and place in a recycled herb bottle.
Dried parsley ready to "crunch" and place in a recycled herb bottle.

Step By Step

1. Cut the fresh herbs. Keep in mind that they'll shrink a lot during the drying process.

2. Wash the herbs with cool water (not hot-- the leaves will discolor!)

3. Divide the herbs into equally sized bunches and tie with string or twine.

4. Hang the bunches someplace dry (I used a wooden frame in my shed).

5. Let them air dry (I checked on them periodically, but the process took several weeks).

6. Retrieve the dry bunches, remove the twine, and begin "crunching." (I used a wooden rolling pin, but a mortar and pestle would work best).

7. As the leaves break up, you can retrieve the stalks and throw them away.

8. Keep "crunching" until the leaves are in tiny pieces. I compared them to a container of store bought dried herbs. You want them to be small enough to fit through the holes in the lids of used herb bottles.

9. Enjoy!

Trial and Error

Since I used the "wing it" approach, there was a lot of trial and error involved in my learning how to dry my own cooking herbs. My first batch turned out okay, but I didn't remove enough of the dry stalks and I didn't crush the leaves up enough. As a result, the herbs wouldn't fit through the slots in the lid of my re-used herb bottle.

I also realized that the herbs will not dry evenly if the bunches are too big.

Oh, I learned the hard way that if you're going to hang a batch of parsely and rosemary on the same day then you want to do the parsley first. The rosemary leaves an oily substance on your skin that takes a while to fade. If you do the rosemary first then when you handle the parsley it'll end up tasting slightly like rosemary (oops!).

So far, I've only tried to dry parsley and rosemary. In the future, I intend to try processing my own oregano and basil. Both plants initially intimidated me. I think the oregano will be tricky to tie into bunches due to it's small size. I have the opposite problem with the basil. The leaves are so large that I dread all of the hard work that will go into grinding the dry leaves into small enough pieces.

Through trial and error, each additional batch of herbs that I've cut, dried, and "crunched" have turned out better than the batch before. In the long run, I intend to buy a mortar and pestle which will make it much easier to crush the dry leaves. Then again, why stop there? I heard from a friend that they've got all sorts of drying racks and related equipment for sale online. So far I've been using the thrifty approach (by reusing items I already own) but the "official" herb drying gear would probably make the process much easier!

Have you ever dried your own herbs?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)