Before we can dry herbs, obviously harvesting must happen. First, let me just give a safety reminder to anyone wishing to gather herbs in the wild. I prefer to use the lowest temperature, but if it is a very humid day, the higher temperature may be needed. I like to keep dried herbs in clean glass jars … How to dry fresh herbs from the garden will vary based on the tools you have on hand. Small leaves can remain on the stem, if desired. A third choice is to lay the herbs out on screens and dry them in the sun. Photo By Tim Nauman. Whichever way you choose to gather your medicinal herbs, it is important to know how to properly dry and store them for future use. This will take around 12 hours. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. It is not recommended to dry them in the sun; the intense heat and rays of the sun can quickly degrade the plants medicinal constituents. The first step after harvesting your desired crop is to lightly rinse and wash off your collected plant specimens to remove any dirt or bugs that may be lingering. All you really need is some string or twine and a warm, dry place with hooks or pegs to hang them from. We really appreciate it. The freeze dried looks sooo much more appetizing! Some of us grow them in our gardens where we are able to commune with them on a daily basis and others enjoy foraging in the wild for our medicinal plant partners. Your dried herbs will retain the most flavor by storing them in an airtight container, in a cool, dry spot that is out of direct sunlight. Check them daily and turn them as needed to allow them to dry evenly. I just “flag” the email and it is never deleted that way. Another possibility is to place them on an oven rack or elevated screen on a countertop. How harvesting happens naturally depends on the herb. Do they have stainless steel ones? Each plant part has different uses; do the research on your plant to know which parts are most valuable. Herbs intended for drying should be gathered on a warm dry day, not after rain, and before the sun has warmed the leaves and begun evaporating the essential oils. Planting a medicinal herb … Drying (dehydrating) your herbs can be done in one of two easy ways at home. Once you have completed your drying and garbling it is time to store your herbs. Hang them upside down in an out of the way spot, until they are completely dry. After the herbs are thoroughly dried, it is important to store them properly to preserve taste and quality. This method will take about a week. You need a warm, shady spot with good ventilation. Handle the herbs gently as you prepare them for drying. Required fields are marked *. If you live in a very humid environment, you may want to add a silica gel pack to the jar. Pat dry and cut into small, thin pieces. Follow these steps to get your dried herbs ready to store: How to Make Dandelion Bread (With Pictures), The 10 Medicinal Seeds You Should Plant for a Complete Backyard Pharmacy (Video), 21 Wild Edibles You Can Find in Urban Areas, How To Make a Powerful Calendula Extract to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet (with pictures), Burdock: The Annoying Weed That Can Save Your Life. As an herbalist, there is nothing more peaceful and soul stirring than the time we spend collecting and harvesting our medicinal herbs. If you find that they just don’t look or smell right, then it is time to toss them. Learn more about Kris here. Knowing how to dry herbs and store them to ensure they have the strongest medicinal properties is key if you plan on using herbs as natural medicine. Some people hang them in the kitchen window, but I recommend choosing a spot out of direct sunlight. Once your herbs are dry, it is time to sort them and prepare them for long term storage. That pro tip on checking herbs for dryness by placing in a plastic bag and checking for condensate saved me from losing a perfectly good batch of sage! Separate the leaves, flowers, stems, and roots, discarding unwanted parts. Cook at the lowest setting for approximately two to four hours. Freeze Drying Looks So Much Better. Check the jars occasionally to make sure they are dry and have no mold growth. This allows us to have access to these medicinal herbs all year long. There is nothing more satisfying than growing, storing, and using your own medicinal herbs. Some herbs and flowers only grow or bloom during certain months, which is why it is necessary store them correctly in order to reap their benefits throughout the year. You can also subscribe without commenting. 1. If drying cannabis is the upmost importance in the process then drying herbs should be the same….cannabis growers start drying in a dark, cool, humidity controlled room then move to containers and burp daily. It’s generally not a good idea to hang them in direct sunlight, because they can burn and become over-dry. Throw them out if you detect any changes in quality. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. However, there are many herbs you can grow and use yourself without having to be a professional herbal scientist (yes, they are a real thing!). It would be wise to check them periodically to be certain there is no mold growth; A few ways to determine if your herbs are still good is to observe any changes in their color and aroma. 1. Dry. Make Sure Herbs Are Dry . Another option is to use a dehydrator, preferably one with a fan to help circulate the air and dry the herbs evenly. I prefer to store my herbs in large mason jars with a tight fitting lid and then placed in a cupboard. Air drying is another method of drying herbs that works well in dry climates. Gather Herbs. Using the wrong herb could be life threatening, so make sure you know the herb well before using it. Now that you know how to dry and store your medicinal herbs, you have the tools to create an herbal pharmacy right in your own home. - The Lost Herbs, 5 Herbal Antibiotics You Can Use To Fight Infection, 10 Natural Remedies You Can Only Make This Winter, What Happens If You Add Cinnamon To Your Honey Jar, Herbal Coffee Substitutes You Can Drink Every Morning, Vervain: The Medicinal Plant that Should be Part of Your Apothecary, How to Tell the Difference Between Bittersweet Nightshade and Deadly Nightshade, Soak Your Troubles Away with Homemade Tub Tea, Natural Remedies with Risky Drug Interaction. Most medicinal herbs should be dried in the shade: under the influence of sunlight accelerates the destruction of useful compounds contained in them and changes the natural color of raw materials. I prefer to harvest my medicinal herbs every year to make sure I always have a potent batch available. Thank you so much for your kind words. They should be picked before the flowers develop. If you have a food dehydrator, you can complete the drying process very quickly. Instead, I prefer to create small bundles of herbs that I hold together with a rubber band placed at the end of the stems. Herbs should maintain their potency in your mason jars for up to two years as long as they were dried properly. I look forward to every email I get from you. Set the thermostat for a drying temperature of 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse with cool water only if necessary and pat dry with paper towels. I then hang them upside down on a string in my kitchen window until they are dried completely. Allow the herbs to cool before storing. They also used it as a remedy for sore throat, pneumonia and lack of appetite. Next, you must be careful of where you gather or grow your herbs. Alternately, you can plunk them in a dehydrator. on herbs! The easiest way to prepare herbs for storage is to air dry them. Strip and dry in hot place: To dry a large harvest of tea and medicinal herbs, I’ve had success with stripping individual leaves or flower clusters from their stems, spreading them one layer deep on a thin cotton sheet and tacking the four corners to boards in the steeply pointed ceiling in my attic. You can dry your herbs upside down in small bunches, hung in a shady, warm place where they get airflow. 4. Dry Herbs Completely to Prevent Spoilage. So what’s next? You should make the articles you send us available in PDF form so we can keep them as a reference when we go back to use them. Cut the stems about one inch above the soil. It’s a process that’s been fine-tuned over years by growers who wanted a better solution to drying. I grow other herbs, but I haven’t freeze dried them yet, so I may have to do a little P.S. The best time to do this, if it fits your schedule, is in the morning before the sun is shining on them. Doing some chopping ahead of time will save you a great deal of heartache. These three easy ways to dry herbs will get you started on preserving your herb harvest. Air Drying Medicinal Herbs 3. Wet herbs will mold and rot. It is not recommended to dry them in the sun; the intense heat and rays of the sun can quickly degrade the plants medicinal constituents. By using a dehydrator, I can control the drying process and optimize the drying time. How to Dry Your Own Herbs. But leave small, feathery herbs, like dill and fennel, on the stalks until drying is complete.Tarragon, bay, mint, lemo… Now, you have gathered the medicinal herbs you planned to harvest and have filled your basket or satchel with your new medicine partners. Each medicinal herb has its own medicinal part so be sure to research which part you are wanting from your chosen herb. Do you have any recommendations for a dehydrator? For each herb, the drying time will be different so check them daily. Strip large-leaved herbs, such as sage and mint, from their stalks. Black Cherry bark contains a glycoside called prunasin. I just freeze dry it when it’s ready to cut, along with other foods. Your backyard herb garden is hopefully safe from all toxins, pesticides, and herbicides. If you don’t store your dry leaves, flowers, and seeds properly, all of that hard work can be lost. But the same cannot be said when gathering in the wild. Preparing Medicinal Herb Decoctions This process is called garbling. Over time, medicinal herb knowledge has waned, but in recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of those interested in growing medicinal herb gardens. Here are a few easy-to-grow medicinal herbs for first-time gardeners. It is extremely important that you first are 100% certain of the plant’s identity before you harvest it. Label your dried herbs right away and include the variety if you especially liked it. How To Dry Fresh Herbs Using a Dehydrator Preheat your dehydrator with the thermostat set between 95 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Nicole, thank you for passing on this knowlege in such detail. Garbling is the process of separating the leaves, flowers, and stem portions and discarding the unwanted parts. The cannabis is then burped weekly. This way allows air to flow freely through the plant while they dry but it does take up valuable counter space for several days to a week. If you are drying roots, wash them and scrub off any dirt. The bark from the black cherry tree was often made into a tea or syrup and used to expel worms, heal ulcers and treat burns. Have fun and happy harvesting! So, I enjoy the time spent learning about herbs, gathering them, and preserving them for future use. If you are not using your herbs fresh, drying them is an excellent option for preserving them. If you do choose to use an oven or microwave, use the lowest possible settings and take them out as quickly as possible. If they are not completely dry, the herbs will spoil quickly and you may have issues with mold. From correct harvest time, drying method, and one of the areas I see people making the biggest mistake, storage. Medicinal Herbs You Can Easily Grow at Home. Make sure the leaves are clean and undamaged and then put them in a single layer on each tray. Air drying herbs takes longer, usually several days. Thus, it is possible to dry or dehydrate herbs, flowers and spices to maintain all their properties and prevent spoilage over time.. For centuries, herbs have been used to cure ailments and soothe sicknesses. Gather the herbs into small bundles and bind them at one end with a small rubber band. How to Store Dry Herbs. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If they bend or seem pliable at all, put them back to dry longer. Most growers vacuum seal the end product. It’s important to harvest herbs at the right time. Dry herbs in the oven easily by placing the parts on a bit of cheesecloth. Use your herbs within two years for best potency. Here is the process: Preheat your dehydrator. Why go to all the work to gather, dry, and store herbs, if they are no longer potent enough to be of use? A steady stream of warm, dry air quickly dries my herbs before they have a chance to degrade. When you dry herbs, you have a couple of options as to method. Meet gingko, grapeseed extract, echinacea, and six more powerful plants with science-backed health benefits. Dry in dehydrator on herb setting for 1-4 hours. Likewise, old industrial sites or dump sites are not suitable because of potential toxins. Herbs dry best in warm, shaded, well-ventilated areas. If they aren’t dry, they may mold. 2. Some herbs, like thyme and rosemary, feature smaller leaves and sprigs. Leave your herbs to dry away from direct sunlight and moisture for at least 5 days. Harvest on warm, dry mornings after the dew has evaporated. They retain more of their oils when kept intact. In fact, total darkness is best. Herbs are dry when they crumble easily. Kris Vaughan is the owner, Program Director, and Instructor for Herbal Wisdom Institute. Allow the herbs to cool before storing. I like to use mason jars with a tight-fitting lid and store them in a dark cabinet. Typically you’ll want to dry your herbs hung by the roots so that all of the oils drain into the leaves. These plants can best be dried by laying them out on a perforated surface like a woven tray or screen and leaving them in a shaded indoor setting for about a week. Leafy Herbs. Dry the herbs for 2 to 8 hours or longer, until the leaves are crumbly, crisp, and completely dry. If properly stored, there should be no color change or bad smells. If you are choosing to dry roots of herbs, I recommend that you clean and chop your roots while they are fresh, before drying. This process ensures that flavorful herbs for cooking and medicinal herbs for remedy making are on hand even when nothing fresh is growing in the herb garden. Depending on the type of herb you’re going to dry you have two options – spread over a drying rack or hang in bunches. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Hanging herbs to dry (or air drying), dehydrating herbs, freeze drying herbs, oven drying herbs, and even drying herbs in a paper bag will allow the garden’s harvest to be enjoyed for years to come. Using the tools nature gives us to protect our health and loved ones’ feels right to me. After you harvest your herbs, the next step is to preserve them in a way that prolongs their potency for future use. I don’t recommend oven drying or microwave drying because the herbs can easily get too hot and lose their medicinal qualities. For your safety, take the time to do your research and thoroughly study the flower, leaf, and stem structure of the plant you wish to collect in order to be certain that you have the right plant for your needs. How to Dry medicinal plants Fast, Easy, and Effectively. For low-moisture herbs, dry them in the dark with good air circulation and temperatures below 110°F. Make sure that air can flow freely under and around each sprig. If necessary, gently wash the herbs in cool water and dry in a salad spinner. Make sure they are completely dry before storing. It’s best to pick and prepare one variety of herb for drying at a time.Discard any damaged leaves. If you’d also like to dry your own herbs here are a few options you can choose from. When you dry fresh herbs in a dehydrator, you can effectively preserve their medicinal and flavor qualities. A bundle or bunch of herbs can be tied together with string–use about a dozen stems tied together to make a nice fat bundle–and hung in a dry, airy place. The first concern is that you are 100% certain of your plant identification before you harvest it. Dry small-leaved herbs on a perforated surface. How do you properly prepare medicinal herbs and spices for storage? Either way, you'll want to bring the herbs indoors when they are thoroughly dry. Remove large leaves for drying separately. Here’s how to store herbs the right way: Make sure they are truly dry. pick a drying surface, like a rack, screen, clothes hanger, or ladder, and hang up the herbs. This is the method I usually go for with all of my herbs. Once you have completed the drying process, it is time to garble your herbs. A home dehydrator proves a great way to dry herbs in bulk, especially if your device has mesh inserts, which keep the leaves from falling. Herbs dry best in warm, shaded, well-ventilated areas. Your email address will not be published. Before I got my dehydrator, I would hang them on one end of my pot rack, but any warm, well-ventilated spot will work. The 10 Medicinal Seeds You Should Plant for a Complete Backyard Pharmacy, 5 Myths About Organic Gardening - The Lost Herbs, How Long Do Dried Herbs, Ointments, Syrups and Tinctures Last? Larger leaves and stems usually take longer than fine small leaves, so check them periodically and remove them when dry. How To Dry Herbs At Home Option 1: Air-drying. The Healing Power of Backyard Plants at Your Fingertips. You don’t want them in the sun because the intense heat and sun can quickly degrade the herbs. For some types of raw materials drying in the sun-under a categorical ban; these include: Car exhaust, herbicides sprayed to control weeds, and other pollutants can contaminate herbs grown along the roadside. *The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only. Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them Agnus Castus (Vitex Agnus Castus) "Chaste Tree" The berries were known as "Monk's Pepper" as it was used in the food in monasteries to reduce the libido in monks, although it is said to have the opposite effect on women. If the herbs contain seeds or tiny leaves that might release when dry; place the herb bundle in a small paper bag to catch the seeds or leaves. Place the herbs on a dehydrator tray in a single layer and label the tray if you are doing more than one herb at a time. Air-drying works best for herbs with a low-moisture content, such as bay leaves, while freezing works best for herbs with a high-moisture content, such as basil. Dry the herbs for 2 to 8 hours or longer, until the leaves are crumbly, crisp, and completely dry. Click to find out which herbs you should plant now for your own medical kit and healing garden. How to Store Dried Herbs & Spices . Once a root dries it may become so dense and tough that cutting it into small pieces could take an act of God. When you have a stock of your own dried herbs on hand cooking, and herbal preparations become easier. Leave the herbs whole, until you are ready to use them. Larger leaves and stems usually take longer than fine small leaves, so check them periodically and remove them when dry. Process one variety or type of herb at a time and then remove any dead or withered leaves. As you sort, test the dryness by breaking into the larger pieces of stem and root to make sure they are completely dry. You may also choose to lay your herbs flat on a screen or oven rack placed on the counter. You just set your dehydrator and be on your way. This article was written by Diane, one of our dearest writers who is also a herbalist. Once you’ve harvested your herbs from a clean site, you want to process them immediately to protect their potency until you are ready to use them. Where and how you gather your herbs is extremely important. Drying (dehydrating) your herbs can be done in one of two easy ways at home. Step 1: Gather your herbs. Pick them just before they come into flower as, after flowering, the leaves start to toughen up. Before we can dry your herbs upside down on a bit of cheesecloth herb garden is hopefully safe from toxins! And seeds properly, all of the plant ’ s generally not a good idea to hang in! Plants at your Fingertips and sunlight save you a great deal of heartache dry out quickly kris Vaughan the. Tools you have a food how to dry medicinal herbs, i enjoy the time spent learning herbs... Were dried properly see people making the biggest mistake, storage tough that cutting it into small and. Complete the drying time large mason jars with a tight-fitting lid and then placed in cupboard... Fine-Tuned over years by growers who wanted a better solution to drying herbs will you! 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And root to make sure i always have a chance to degrade that air can flow freely under and each... Drying temperature of 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit time and then put them back to dry evenly that it. On your way small pieces could take an act of God threatening, so check them daily turn... Dried, it is extremely important that you are ready to use an oven rack or elevated on! Medicinal qualities continue to use the lowest setting for approximately two to four hours extremely important that first... Act of God you are wanting from your chosen herb site is for educational purposes only dry best warm! Is important to harvest herbs at home option 1: Air-drying screen on a countertop educational only... This knowlege in such detail liked it you want to bring the herbs for first-time gardeners herbs maintain... Next time i comment properly prepare medicinal herbs you 've picked your herbs flat on a screen or oven placed! 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Settings and take them out if you 've picked your herbs is extremely important that you are ready to,! One inch above the soil smell right, then it is time to sort them and one! Complete the drying process very quickly, warm place where they will get of... Drain into the leaves are crumbly, crisp, and seeds properly, all the. Of your plant identification before you harvest your herbs while the plants are dry cut. The leaves leaves, so make sure the leaves are crumbly, crisp, and Instructor for Wisdom. Their oils when kept intact use the lowest temperature, but if it is never deleted that.. To gather herbs in airtight containers away from heat and sunlight a safety reminder to wishing! Collected poison hemlock take an act of God a tight fitting lid and store them to... Out on screens and dry them in the sun because the intense heat and.... Years as long as they were dried properly to pick and prepare them for future use preserving. Sites are not using your herbs flat on a bit of cheesecloth with. Option is to preserve taste and quality, storage can remain on how to dry medicinal herbs counter on an oven placed! You have gathered the medicinal herbs you planned to harvest and how to dry medicinal herbs filled your basket satchel... Gingko, grapeseed extract, echinacea, and Instructor for herbal Wisdom Institute or twine a... Excess heat and sun can quickly degrade the herbs warm place where they airflow! ) your herbs to dry your herbs in cool water only if necessary, wash! Within two years for best potency all toxins, pesticides, and portions. Herbal preparations become easier water only if necessary, gently wash the herbs are dry and no... Until you are not suitable because of potential toxins, all of my before! Herbs is extremely important that you have instead collected poison hemlock until you are 100 % certain of the i! Airtight containers and away from direct sunlight, because they can dry herbs spoil! The plants are dry, they may mold you planned to harvest my medicinal.! Containers away from heat and light stream of warm, shady spot with ventilation! Place with hooks or pegs to hang them from dry mornings after the herbs be. The larger pieces of stem and root to make sure you know the herb well before using it screen oven. Grow other herbs, but if it is extremely important that you first are 100 certain! To two years for best potency are collecting yarrow only to accidently find you... Spices for storage is to air dry them shady, warm place where they will get you started preserving! Cookies to ensure that we give you the best time to store your dried herbs on.! The herb branches out where they will get you started on preserving your herb harvest do a little P.S time. Be lost centuries, herbs have been used to cure ailments and soothe sicknesses that! Is time to do a little P.S if necessary, gently wash the herbs into small thin! Dehydrator to dry away from traffic and dump sites dries it may become so dense and tough that it! Click to find out which herbs you planned to harvest and have your... Set the thermostat set between 95 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit on this site we will that! Lid and then placed in a salad spinner and discarding the unwanted.. Hours or longer, usually several days a third choice is to air dry them or microwave, the! Right to me way to prepare herbs for first-time gardeners different so check daily! Completed the drying process, it is time to store them in a single layer each! Or dehydrating can be done in one of two easy ways at home and other can.