There are a variety of herbs, spices, flowers, berries, fruits and other plant parts that can be taken care of by drying.
Good herbs to dry
- Lemon balm
Cut fine, healthy portions from the herb.
Shake / brush away dirt and tie the stems together into small, airy bundles.
Hang them up and down in a dry place without direct sunlight.
The best taste usually has herbs before they go in bloom, but I usually pick a little from time to time. It works with that. Remember not to cut down the entire plants along the ground too late in the season as they need to recover a little between harvest and winter rest.
Most herbs are excellent for drying. Drying should be done in a well-ventilated and dark space. It is also possible to dry in the oven, as the oven is put on the lowest effect and the oven door is left on the surface.
Herbs with large leaves and thick stems, such as sage, are picked or scratched off the leaves from the stems before drying. Thin-sliced herbs and herbs with small leaves, such as Thyme is easiest to dry on the stems. Flower flocks of e.g. moose is carefully scratched off with eg. a fork before or after drying depending on the thickness of the stem. The petals from eg. marigold is removed before drying.
Air dry and sun dry
Spread out the herbs or plant parts that you want to dry on baking paper. Preferably in the sun or where it is hot. Leave to dry for a few days until completely dry. Turn the leaves a few times a day to dry evenly.
Some herbs are excellent for hanging dry. You tie the twigs tightly together in airy bouquets and then hang them up and down in a space that is dry, cool, but not too cold. The herbs are then ready-dried after about 2 weeks. You know that they are ready when they can easily crumble between their fingers.
As soon as the herbs are so dry that they can easily break, they should be packed in tight-fitting jars so that they do not absorb new moisture. The herbs dried on the stalk can be scratched or squeezed away from the stems to take up less space in the cans.
Some herbs are better to freeze
Some spices lose a lot of flavor when drying them, such as basil, dill and chives. These spices can advantageously be frozen instead. Rinse the spices and allow the water to drain thoroughly before chopping them. Then freeze them into small jars.
Oven dry in ordinary oven
If you are going to dry herbs and spices in a regular oven then you should not have too high a temperature. It causes moisture to evaporate too quickly and then there is less odor and flavor left. Even part of the nutritional value is lost if you dry too high heat. Wipe with the lid on at a maximum of 50 degrees until it is really dry. Turn the plant parts occasionally so that they dry evenly. When the plant parts are dry, you can store them in an airtight jar or grind them into powder if you prefer.
Dried spices have a best before date
Approximately all households probably have many spices. That have partly gone out and partly stand far too hot on the traditional spice shelf above the stove. A very strange location in our standard kitchens.