How can we prepare certain herbs for a long shelf life?
Background: Drying Herbs
Certain herbs -- like rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano -- contain very little moisture in their leaves relative to the more tender, broader leaf herbs like basil and mint. While there are successful methods for drying all herbs, the easiest herbs to dry are those that have little moisture to begin with. Air-drying herbs like these is a simple and effective process that allows the grower to store their herbs for long-term use. If harvested at the proper time and stored properly, dried herbs will last for years.
Students will be able to...
Harvest rosemary and other herbs at the proper time
Air-dry rosemary and other herbs
herb /(h)ərb/ noun. - a plant used to flavor foods or other products
1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies: Herb plants · pruners · string · storage location
2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to air-dry rosemary. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson by reading the steps below.
3. Harvest the herb using pruners by cutting at the base of off-shoots of larger stems. Herbs lose significant flavor after they flower and go to seed, so it is best to continuously harvest herbs before they flower to retain the culinary value of the plants. Harvest several shoots to create a sizable bunch.
4. Cut a string long enough to wrap around the bunched cuttings a few times and still have a decent length (1 - 1.5 ft) of string leftover. Tie a knot after wrapping the bunch together.
5. Locate a dry location with regular air-flow in which to hang your bunched herbs. The location should, ideally, be out of direct sunlight. Using the unattached part of the string, tie the herb bunch to an object that will keep the herbs off of the ground and out of the way of pests. Depending on the humidity of the surrounding environment, it will take a few days up to a few weeks for the herbs to dry completely. Once dry, the leaves should be crisp and easy to break.
Download the PDF version of this lesson plan: