Have you been watching the weather across the country this winter? El Nino did a number on our friends in the northern states and in the South we had a decidedly warm winter. I literally didn’t even dig out my heaviest coat this year… Disappointing considering I LOVE my winter wardrobe and a lack of a deep freeze means the mosquitos will be hella bad this summer. Amazing because my herb garden flourished all “winter” long.
I pretty much ignored it, expecting it to die back, but when I realized it was hanging in there, a little fertilizer and lots of rain = an abundance of parsley, chives, thyme, dill and tarragon. I considered freezing all of them in olive oil or water but I really don’t love the results. Then, I thought I’d just hang them to dry – then I remembered that there is just no good spot in my house to do that.
FMG received a pretty cool dehydrator for his birthday and we’ve made several batches of jerky and apple chips – so why not use it to dry some herbs? After a thorough washing and pat-dry, I spread the herbs out on the racks, did a quick search for some general guidelines (and general they were!) and hoped for the best.
At 120º, the cilantro (left over from a supper club recipe) and dill took about 4 hours and the parsley and chives took about 6 to be completely dried. The dill and parsley I left on the stems, pinching off the thicker ends of the stalk.
The cilantro was already roughly chopped – and bits of cilantro ended up flying all over the racks and the chives I left in semi-long pieces, cutting the bunches I chopped off the plant to roughly the same size.
I’m really happy with the results – and can’t wait to cook with them all. Other than my kitchen smelling like a freshly mowed alfalfa field, it was a fantastic way to preserve surplus herbs. I’m looking forward to trying basil and mint this summer when they really flourish.
What is your favorite way to store and keep herbs?