Many people are growing their own vegetables these days and probably have some favorite herbs growing in the garden, too. There’s nothing like fresh herbs to bring flavor to a favorite recipe. Out in the garden, few things beat the wonderful aroma of basil, rosemary or thyme as it infuses the air as you gently rub the leaves between your fingertips. When your herb plants grow faster than you can use them, it’s time to harvest some for drying. Regular pruning encourages new growth.
Most herbs should be harvested before the plants are about to bloom. That’s when the leaves are at their peak flavor. Pick a sunny day and harvest in the morning when the oils are strongest and morning dew has evaporated.
is easy- either hang them in bunches or lay in a shallow basket or on a screen in a well-ventilated place out of the sun. If you’re drying on screens or in baskets, remove large-leaved herbs from their stems and spread them out. Smaller leaved herbs like thyme, savory or rosemary can be left on their stems to dry. Depending on the weather, it may take a few days to a few weeks for your herbs to dry fully.
A dried herb should crackle and crumble when rubbed between your fingers. Once the herbs are dry, gently strip the leaves and pack them into clean, dry jars with tight fitting lids. Pack the leaves whole to retain the best flavor. Crushing the leaves releases their essential oils, so don’t do that until you use them. Store away from light and heat. They are best if used within a year.