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The Garden Writers Association

 

Last Update 06/03/08

Drying Herbs

Gathering herbs for drying is one of the gardener's most pleasant tasks.

4. STRIP THE DRY LEAVESStripping the dry leaves
To determine whether your herbs are dry enough to pack away, roll a leaf in your fingers. It should crumble readily. If it bends but does not break when folded, or if it feels leathery, it isnít yet dry enough. In very hot weather, small-leafed herbs like parsley and thyme should dry within a week, provided they get good air circulation. Those with larger and fleshier leavesóbasil, comfrey, and the likeómay take two weeks or more to dry thoroughly.

Leaf stripping is a relaxing task after a day of gardening; just run youíre hands down the stalk and stems, rubbing the leaves off into a bowl on your lap. If youíre aiming for that country-herb ambience in your kitchen, save several whole herb bundles to festoon the ceiling beams. Although hanging herbs look homey and inviting, a kitchenís warmth and occasional damp air will cause the herbsí flavor to fade as their volatile oils evaporate. Youíll want to keep your cooking herbs under cover. Store the stripped dried leaves in tightly closed containers.

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