The supply of dried herbs in my country French kitchen has been running low lately. I finally got around to drying and grinding some. Our new stash of our most frequently used herbs is now replenished.
I planted 3 basil plants this year, so it looks as if I will be busy drying basil all summer. That’s okay with me, as I do not want to run out of basil, ever. I can continue to cut & dry oregano all winter, but not basil, as it is an annual, and will be killed by the first frost.
The Fastest Way to Dry Herbs:
I discovered this method of drying herbs by accident — oh, what a happy accident! I will not likely ever go back to my former slow method of drying my herbs, which takes 3 to 4 months. You can read about the slow method in my original article on HubPages, How to Grow and Dry Herbs. At this time, all my information about growing herbs will remain in that article.
After washing your herbs in cold water, and allowing them to dry, spread them onto a cookie sheet. Bake them at your oven’s lowest temperature, usually about 180 or 200 degrees Farenheit. Then turn the oven off, but leave the herbs inside for at least 2 hours. Longer is fine if you have other things do do, but after 2 hours, they should be crunchy — perfect for grinding. If not, it is probably because they were still a bit damp when they went into the oven.
It is fine for them to be overlapped on the cookie sheet, but if you have too many, and they are piled too deeply, the ones on bottom may still be soft when they come out of the oven. If you have a lot of herbs, it’s better to use more than one cookie sheet, or to do two baking sessions.
How This Happened:
One day I needed some dried oregano in a hurry, so I decided to speed up the drying process by spreading the herbs onto a cookie sheet, and baking them for 15 minutes on the lowest temperature setting. For my oven, that temp is 180 F. At the end of 15 minutes they weren’t dry enough to grind, so I left them in the oven, but turned the oven off. About a half-hour later, I took them out. The still were not dry enough, but close. So I closed the oven door, leaving the herbs inside, with the oven still turned off. Later, I realized I had forgotten about them, while doing other tasks. By then they were crunchy, and ready to grind. I’ve been using this method for drying herbs ever since.
Sage is Also One of the Herbs in My Little Garden
When grinding dried oregano and sage, I use a coffee grinder that I reserve for herbs only. When drying basil, I have found that rubbing them between my hands gets just the right consistency. Just put some sprigs of basil between your hands, apply light pressure, and rub your hands together rapidly as if trying to warm them. Some of the basil leaves may be tougher than others. If so, just repeat the process.
Below are Some Photos of Herbs: