Preservation of Herbs

Harvesting: Early in the morning, after the dew has dried but before the hot sun brings out the oil. Harvest flowers for drying and fragrances when they are just opened and fresh looking. Bring cut herbs indoors out of sun as soon as possible after harvesting. Shake off excess moisture, drain well, spread on a flat surface.

Air Drying: Hang in bunches upside down in a dark, well-ventilated area or spread in a thin layer on screens, or frames covered with cheesecloth.

Oven Drying: Spread a thin layer on a cookie sheet and bake at no more than 120°F until they are dry and crispy. Microwave Drying: Place a few sprigs on a paper towel and heat on the lowest setting for 30 seconds at a time until dry and crumbly. Timing will vary with different herbs.

Freezing: Remove leaves from the stems, herbs with small, fine leaves should be frozen on the stem, can be chopped or frozen whole. Do not crowd the leaves in the package and place them in the freezer where they won't get crushed. Thaw them out and use them the same as you would fresh herbs. A rather neat trick is to freeze the herbs in ice cube trays. Pack your chopped herbs in the ice cube trays then cover with water and freeze. Once frozen, pop them out of the trays and store in bags in the freezer .

Storage: Store herbs in airtight containers away from heat and light. Glass is best because plastic will absorb the essential oils. Store herbs, dried or frozen, for no more than a year because they begin to lose their potency.