Got an abundance of fresh herbs, or just like to DIY? Learn how to dry herbs for use in recipes all year long.
Herbs“ is a catch-all term to denote plants that are used to either flavor food, perfume the air, or alleviate illness. One of the oldest documented culinary herbs was Gingko biloba, which has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years.“
The use of herbs in cooking is universal, with each culture having their own unique herbal repertoire that is used to make recipes more intriguing to the palate. Depending upon the plant, its flowers, leaves, roots, stems, seeds, and blossoms can be used to create aroma, intensify flavor, and conjure nuance.
Related Reading: How to Use Fresh Herbs Before They Go Bad
Dried herbs are a way to retain a fresh plant’s flavor virtues long after its growing season has passed. The general measurement rule is one tablespoon of coarsely chopped fresh herbs is equivalent to one teaspoon of dried herbs. To fully release their flavor before adding dried herbs to a dish, rub them between your fingers to release their oils first.
Herb Drying Rack, $14.99 on Amazon
An au natural and bucolic way to dry a full harvest’s worth of herbs.
It’s typically best to add dried herbs to a dish towards the end of its cooking time in order to retain as much flavor as possible. In general, air-drying works best because it enables the fresh herbs to retain more flavor than dehydrating them in an oven.
Steps to air dry fresh herbs:
1. Gather approximately seven to eight fresh plants together and bind them with a rubber band or a piece of cooking string.
2. Place the herb bundle, leaf-side up, in a clean brown paper bag and gently fold over the top of the bag to form a loose seal. Using a knife tip or a toothpick, poke several holes in the bag to encourage air circulation.
3. Set the bag aside in a dry place at room temperature until the herbs are completely dehydrated. They have reached this stage when they are brittle and break apart easily.
4. Crumble the herbs between your fingers onto a dry plate.
5. Store dried herbs in a sealed container in a cool, dark place at room temperature. They will typically keep at full flavor intensity for up to three months.
Electric Food Dehydrator, $39.92 on Amazon
For when your herb harvest exceeds expectations.
It’s also possible to dry herbs in the microwave.
Dried Herb Recipes
See below for five recipes which utilize dried herbs to their fullest potential:
Cinnamon tea energizes the palate and enlivens the senses. The addition of dried thyme is an unexpected way to heighten the flavor and add even more healthful properties to this easy to prepare cup of comfort. Get the Cinnamon Thyme Tea recipe.
Dried dill and just three other ingredients combine to create a tartar sauce that is bright and creamy all at the same time. It’s the perfect accompaniment for fried and grilled fish and even works well as a dip for fresh vegetables. Get the Lemon Dill Tartar Sauce recipe.
This recipe is an economical twist to pricier pesto made from fresh basil and is a cinch to pull together. For a twist, substitute roasted hazelnuts, almonds, or pecans for the pine nuts. Get the Dried Basil Pesto recipe.
Stuffing doesn’t have to be reserved for Thanksgiving. Sage and fruit belong together—something about having connections to wisdom, probably. The ground sage in this stuffing recipe adds depth that is brightened by the coarsely chopped Granny Smith apples, and echoed by the sweet richness of the prunes. Get our Prune and Apple Stuffing with Sausage recipe.
Oregano is what makes Greek food taste Greek and gives pizza sauce its signature zing. Here, this hearty San Francisco-inspired seafood stew gets a little earth and zest from dried oregano. It’s elegant enough for a dinner party but also lovely on a rushed weekday evening. Get our Cioppino recipe.
Related Video: How to Use Fresh Herbs in Drinks
Header image courtesy of istetiana/Getty Images.