|Herb Garden - Home||Drying - use a well-ventilated location, dry and out of direct sunlight.You can dry them in bunches tied with an elastic band upside down or pickoff the leaves and dry them on screens. I prefer drying them on screens asI can look the leaves over for insects or disease and discard the ones notperfect before drying. They dry quicker in my climate using my drying cabinet which will keep more of the oils and the flavour. A food dehydrator also works on very low heat for some herbs. Just make sure you don't "burn" them by drying them too long or too high a temperature. For pictures of my herb dryer, go to Preserving|
Leaves - pick on a dry sunny morning in spring or early summer just beforethe blossoms form when the natural oils are at their best.
Seeds - pick when barely ripe, in the early morning and dry in paper bags.Some that I use are: fennel seed, and aniseeed.
Roots - dig up the plant, trim off the rest of the plant, wash the roots,trim off the side shoots, split in half lengthwise if too large to dryquickly. You can air dry them or in a 100 degree oven so the volatile oilswon't be affected unfavourably. To preserve flavour, keep the roots inlarger pieces until you are ready to use them. At that time, grind, powder,or pound them to help release the flavours. Examples are dandelion rootwith chicory for a coffee substitute, licorice, and ginseng. See Roots
Flowers - pick at their prime - their loveliest and most fragrant. Somethat I use are: chamomile, anise hyssop, hops, calendula, sweet violet,Johnny jump-ups, hibiscus, echinacea, red clover, rose, jasmine, cowslip,borage, California poppy, and lavender.
Storing Dried Herbs
Leaves and flowers should be chip-dry in sealed dark containers in a cooldark place, and they are best used within one year. Roots and seeds keepmuch longer.