Herbs: Tasty, Leafy and Legal

Dried Kitchen Herbs

Home drying kitchen herbs for my killer recipes!

Sienna Somers Savvy Student preparing herbsI am going to miss picking fresh herbs from our herb garden, just a few steps from the door of our cottage. As well as using in cooking, in the evenings I often drink mint, fennel or rosemary tea. I know that fresh herbs will definitely be beyond my budget as a student, but I have a few ideas to put into practice….When I arrive, I am considering a bit of guerrilla gardening to introduce some herbs into the flower beds around my student accommodation, particularly for my much-loved bronze fennel, bought with pocket money ten years ago and now sprouting like a weed all over the garden.

I have dug up some fennel to take with me, along with some thyme and mint. I left the rosemary in a vase of water on the window ledge and it has sprouted roots and is now in my pot of herbs waiting to go to Falmouth.

I am also drying bunches of sage, rosemary, mint and thyme which I will grind up once they are dry. This is really easy and takes no more than five minutes. I am air drying the herbs, but I have also tried microwaving them with mixed results. Lavender and bay leaves dried really well in the microwave, retaining their colour and flavour, whereas the mint was tasteless.

1. Pick your herbs

From your garden or anywhere you see herbs overhanging the road or pavement.  In Branscombe, I find lots of wild herbs. Wild Marjoram is growing all over the cliffs.

2. Rinse

Rinse quickly in cold water and shake off as much of the excess water as possible or pat dry gently with a clean tea towel.

3. Tie

Rinse quickly in cold water and shake off as much of the excess water as possible or pat dry gently with a clean tea towel.

tied herbs

4. Put in paper bags

Find some brown or dark paper bags and cut some small air holes in them.

5. Dangle

Dangle the bunches of herbs into the bag. With a separate piece of string, tie tightly around and around at the top of the bag.

herbs-in-bag6. Hang

The long piece of string used to tie the bunches of herbs can then be used to make a loop and the herbs can be hung to dry in a warm place. I have hung mine in the conservatory, but somewhere a bit darker may be better.herbs-dangle

 7. Wait

After a few weeks when the herbs look dry, grind them up and put into small jars or little plastic bags. Rosemary, lavender and similar can just be stripped from their stalks, whilst sage, mint and the like are best when ground with a pestle and mortar, although you can just crumple them in your hands when dry.  Put the herbs into small bottles, or bags if you have no bottles.

Savvy Student strips the thyme

My favourite evening tea is liquorice and peppermint, so I am going to try to make my own teabags once the mint has dried. Mumma bought me some teabag sachets, so I can just fill them with dried herbs and spices to make my own herbal teas.

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