Today I want to share a quick tip for drying your herbs. Drying herbs isn’t rocket science; basically you cut some parts off of the plant and set them out or hang them up to dry. It’s easy enough, but sometimes it takes a lot of time for all the water to evaporate out.
You can drastically reduce the time it takes to dry your herbs by pulling all of the leaves off the stems before you dry them. Maybe this is how everyone dries herbs and I’m late to the party again, but this is seriously helpful!
These two stems would take 2-3 weeks or more to dry if I pinned them up as-is onto the drying rack I made. But instead, I pulled the leaves off the stems and now they will be dry in 3-4 days. I can pull them down off the rack before the next time I need to harvest the plant and hang up new leaves to dry. Which is awesome, because this catnip is seriously prolific; I probably harvest bits of it about once a week!
Just pull off all of the leaves from the stem, pinching the leaf off as close to the stem as possible.
Then stack the leaves on top of each other, lining up the stems. Put a piece of string under the stems, pull up the ends, and tie a knot!
It’s a little more work than just cutting off a stem and hanging it up, but it’s worth it! About five minutes of work before hanging the leaves up means that my catnip dries about two weeks faster!
Just make sure to pull the knot VERY tight, so it cuts into the stems a bit. The stems will shrink when they dry, and you don’t want all of your leaves to fall down onto the floor!
One other way I dry herbs when I’m out of room on the drying rack is in a little strainer. If the rack is full, or if I have tiny piece of plants I want to dry that I can’t clip with the clothespins, I just throw the herbs into a strainer and let it sit on my counter for a few days. This works just as well, and is especially great for flowers.
Those little chamomile flowers were dry after three days.
The basic idea is to just get rid of any extra pieces of the plant that aren’t completely necessary once it’s dried. Pull leaves off the stem and cut flower heads off right at the base. If you need to leave a little bit of stem in order to hang the plant, that’s fine, but don’t hang the whole thing out to dry, stem, leaves, flowers, and all. It will just take too long!
How do you dry your herbs? Any other herb harvesting tips?
This post is part of a series about growing herbs indoors. You can see the rest of the posts in the series here.
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