Tips for Drying Your Own Herbs

Tips for Drying Your Own Herbs | YUM eating

It’s garden season and that means plenty of herb growth. While many herbs can be grown year-round, there’s just something special about freshly grown herbs in the summer. So what do you do when you’ve grown your herbs and now you’re not getting through them fast enough? Trust me, I know this can be difficult even when you cook daily. When we find we are getting to a point where we aren’t getting through the fresh pick quick enough we’ll dry them out. 

I find that drying them out is an easy and economical way to continue reaping my rewards of organic growth.

Drying your own herbs is also a healthful and flavorful way to preserve the herbal harvest. Whether you have tried it before and not been happy with the result, or whether you will be trying your hand at drying herbs for the first time, here are some success tips and suggestions.

What Herbs Work Best?

An herb, when used as food and/or medicine, consists of the leaves, flowers, and/or stems of a plant. Sometimes the root is considered a herb, too, as in the case of ginger and valerian.

Some herbs lend themselves to drying better than others. Chives, for example, tend to wither into brown threads when dried; other herbs retain their shape and color nicely. Here is a list of some of the herbs that do well with drying:

* Echinacea (flowers, stems, leaves, and roots)
* Lemon balm (stems and leaves)
* Catnip (stems and leaves – but watch out! Your cats will raid it while it’s drying if you don’t have it out of reach!)
* Mints (stems and leaves)
* Bee balm (stems and leaves)
* Dill (seeds and leaves)
* Stevia (leaves)
* Ginger (root)
* Sage (leaves)
* Basil (leaves)


When you go to harvest your herbs, the best time of day and method of harvest depends on several factors. For one thing, it depends on what part of the herb you’re harvesting; for another, it depends on the time of day and season. (If you’re purchasing herbs to dry, such as ginger at the grocery store, you can do that any time of day or year.)

When harvesting roots, it’s best to do so on the fall, sources say. If you are cutting the aerial parts (stems, flowers, and leaves), then it’s considered best to do that in the morning. Most herbs reach their peak somewhere in late spring, depending on where you live – herbs are best harvested at this key point, when the blooms have just opened or the foliage is at its best. You can still harvest herbs after blooming, but they may not be as flavorful and the stems might become woody (as in the case of stevia).


To dry the aerial parts of herbs, the best method is to hang them upside down. Cut the stems close to the ground with sharp clippers, then tie the bundle at the base of the stems with twine. Leave a loop when you tie, and hang this on an S-hook or other convenient area. Herbs dry best in shady, dry environments like open sheds, attics, or under house eaves. You can also dry them indoors.

For roots, slice them very thinly and place them in a dehydrator or on a drying rack/screen covered with cotton cloth or paper towels. Cover with another cloth or another layer of paper towels, and leave in the open air to dry. It should take a few days.

Dried roots and aerial parts should be stored in airtight containers.

TIP: Save your store-bought shaker containers from herbs, spices and even Parmesan cheese. They work great for dried herbs.

Have you ever grown and dried your own herbs?

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  1. I have never tried this before, but I think If I did this myself, I would save a lot of money in the long run!

    1. I have some cat nip oil that I have been testing. I spray it on his cat nip toys instead of refilling them with the herb. He’s pretty hilarious to watch.

  2. I have never grown or dried my own herbs. I would love to though. We are hoping to move this summer and I am looking for a house with a backyard big enough for a garden! Would love to do this so I’m glad to know how now! My grandma did this and I always wanted to help!

    1. I’m hoping to move as well so I totally understand that! Right now I am on 2 acres. We did a pretty large garden last year, and previous years. This year I’m just doing a few containers in case a move happens. I don’t want to leave my food behind! I’ve been saving a ton of smaller space garden pin on Pinterest. Even learned how to build shelves on fences to container garden going up to save on space.

  3. I have dried my own herbs. Each year I dry some herbs and freeze some others. I love being able to pull them out in the winter.

  4. I want to dry my own herbs, but first I have to make them survive! Glad you shared these tips for someone like me who is clueless. I shared it on my FB wall for my herb loving friends!

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