Kitchen Tips

How to dry herbs

Capitalise on rampant spring growth by drying your herbs for use all year round. Food writer and cook Sophie Gray explains how to dry herbs.

By Sophie Gray

Why dry herbs?

Drying herbs concentrates the flavours, so you don’t need to use as much in recipes – 1 tsp dried herbs equates to 1 Tbsp fresh herbs.

When is the right time to harvest herbs?

Pick herbs on a warm day after the dew has evaporated and before any flowers have developed. Herbs can be dried in a variety of ways depending on the herb and how you intend to use it. Once dried, they are safe from bacteria and mould and will remain potent for 6-12 months.

Easy air drying

To air-dry, tie sprigs or branches into small bunches (small bunches allow air to circulate, preventing mould from forming). Hang bunches up to dry with the leaves pointing downwards, place a towel underneath to catch falling leaves. Allow 7-10 days to dry – the time will vary depending on the size of the branches and the level of humidity. When the leaves crumble between your fingers, they’re dried. Sage, thyme, lavender, summer savory, bayleaves, oregano, rosemary and marjoram are sturdy, low-moisture herbs best suited to this method.

The microwave method

To microwave, lay tender herbs in a single layer on a sheet of absorbent paper towel, place on a microwave-safe plate and cover with another sheet of paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute then continue in 20-30 second bursts until the herb crumbles between your fingers. This method suits basil, tarragon, lemon balm, fennel, dill and mint as they have a high moisture content and will go mouldy if not dried quickly.
  • undefined: Sophie Gray