Thursday, October 11, 2012

Drying Herbs

Lime Basil ready to dry

As I posted earlier this year, I planted my first herb garden this spring.  We planted basil, parsley, oregano, lavender, sage, cilantro, garlic chives, and lime basil (which I hadn’t heard of before this year).  The lavender didn’t make it, and the cilantro didn’t thrive.  Most things did fairly well.  The basil and lime basil flourished and thrived.

Lime Basil just out of the oven
I came to love the lime basil during the summer.  I love how it smells, and it adds such a nice flavor to stir fry, salad, fruit dishes, and lots of other things.   However, the temperature here has been dropping steadily over the past couple of weeks, so it seems that my supply of lime basil will soon come to an end.  We actually had our first frost warning last night.  Fortunately it didn’t freeze though!  I decided it was time to look into drying the lime basil for fear we won’t escape the next frost warning so easily.

I found a few articles on drying herbs on Google.  The general consensus seems to be that hanging herbs tied in bundles up to dry is the best way to dry them; it’s natural, not too much work, and doesn’t require any sort of power source, so is very economical and earth friendly.  For us, with a cat who eats string, and a cat who gets into everything, this seemed more like a recipe for disaster than an intelligent, economical plan to enjoy home grown herbs through the winter. 

The finished product! 
We decided to go with the oven drying method.  This involves placing the washed and dry herbs on a baking sheet at 180 degrees.  The times mentioned in the articles varied from two to four hours.  Ours were dry in about an hour, though this may be because the lime basil leaves are fairly small.  I suspect the traditional basil will take a little longer. 

It was fairly time consuming to pat all of the leaves dry and lay them out on the baking sheets, but I think the results are definitely worth the time.  And the house smelled amazing while they were baking!  I’m pretty excited about drying the rest of our herbs.  We’re having something of a warm smell over the weekend, so now I have a little more time to pick and dry the rest of the herbs. 

 Today is also Day Four of the 30-Day Photo Challenge I’m participating in, which is “Leaves”.  It’s a little early for the great fall colors here, so I’m sharing pictures of my lime basil instead.  I think the little leaves are very cute.


  1. I hadn't ever heard of lime basil before.

    1. I hadn't either until we went to a local tailgate market this past spring and they had the plants for sale. It's very easy to grow. We bought one tiny little plant for a dollar and it flourished into multiple plants with enough to use all summer and enough to dry. And it's delicious!


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