A wide variety of herbs can be found at your grocery store, but store-bought seasonings just don’t compare to those grown in your garden. Garden dried herbs have a stronger scent, and better flavor and are easy to prepare yourself. The best time to collect herbs for drying is just before the flowers open. Pick them after the dew has dried, but before the hot sun evaporates the essential oils. For herbs that grow in clumps, like chives and parsley, pick the outer leaves to encourage new growth from the center.
To air dry, simply tie your herbs into small bundles and hang to air dry. When leaves are crispy and crumble easily between your fingers, they are done.
Leafy herbs like basil, mint, and lemon balm have high moisture content and can mold if not quickly dried.
You can use the microwave to dry herbs quickly. Wash, then gently pat them dry. Do not bruise the leaves or you will lose essential oils. Place them in a single layer on a paper towel. Microwave for two to three minutes, checking them every 30 seconds.
Another quick way to dry herbs is by placing them in a car on a hot summer day. Lay them in a single layer on a paper towel. Your car will smell delicious and your herbs will dry quickly.