You are what you eat header image 2

Herb harvest signals beginning of season’s end

September 22nd, 2008 · 5 Comments · Food preparation

In anticipation, perhaps, of today’s autumnal equinox, I went out yesterday and harvested herbs for drying. Based on my success with mint, I decided to cut and dry sage, rosemary (which had developed a couple of flowers), oregano and a teensy bit of thyme. I also decided to wait until I’m ready to bring in the bay laurel before I give it a trim.

Following the usual suggestions, I cut in the morning, and in short order my fingers were sticky with rosemary resin.

freshly cut herbs on table

From left, sage, thyme (top), oregano, rosemary

I washed the herbs, spun them in my salad spinner, rolled them in a towel and then set them in a breezy, shady spot outdoors in hopes of drying all surface moisture before hanging them to dry in a dark closet. I chose a different location for hanging this time due to the change in the season’s light. (Meaning: I now have to keep my window shades open at night in hopes that a little of the dim early morning sun will filter in and help wake me. Since that works only a little bit, I’m afraid I’d forget to close them during the day and thus leave the herbs in the sun.)

I’ll let you know how these come out. I’m a little worried about the possibility of mold, given the thickness of the sage leaves and the density of the rosemary. Also, this new hanging spot is less airy than my bedroom. If anyone has any tips, let me know!


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Joanne

    I’ve dried a bunch of herbs. I don’t usually wash them before hanging up–usually the herbs aren’t too “dirty” and the washing adds a lot of moisture in an already very humid climate. Also, I don’t worry too much about whether or not they dry in sunlight. They grew in sunlight, and the flavor didn’t fade. Fading of flavor seems to happen when they are dry and old. Old herbs just lack zing. When they dry, it helps to crumble and store in jars rather than leave them out as dried bunches…but most of the time, the zing lasts the winter, in my experience, and that’s all we need. Maybe I’m not too scientific about all this, but honestly, it hasn’t been a problem!

  • Jennifer (Baklava Queen)

    If need be, Janet, you could finish drying the herbs in the oven (on a parchment-covered baking sheet, lowest temp possible, for maybe an hour). I took down a bunch of parsley I’d had drying for a couple of weeks, and it wasn’t fully dry since my place is a little humid, so I finished it in the oven. Just fine now!

  • Janet Majure

    Thanks for the tips, Joanne and Jennifer. I probably worry to much about doing it “right.” I got a big bunch of parsley in my CSA bag today, and maybe I’ll try to dry some of it, too. Thanks for the idea, Jennifer.

  • The Ethicurean: Chew the right thing. » Blog Archive » Waiting is the harvest part

    […] Having used various herbs — mint, sage, rosemary — throughout the summer, she took the time to gather and dry bundles of her remaining herbs to use during the winter. Considering how beautifully she has used her herbs […]

  • Preservation update: apples frozen; herbs dried |

    […] there were the late-harvest herbs. I didn’t fuss over them like I did the mint. I just snipped them, rinsed them, let the water […]