Organic Heirloom Plants

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How To Dry Fresh Herbs

How to Solar Dry Fresh Herbs

Drying Fresh Herbs is easy and an inexpensive way to obtain dried herbs for use all winter long. There are just a few steps one must take to ensure the process is done right the first time! In this article, we will explain how to dry herbs using the solar method. Solar drying is free, requires less time, and holds more of the essential oils intact once the herb is done drying.

#1) Collect only the freshest herbs free of insect damge or other leaf damage before the plant flowers. A plants essential oils are highest just before they go to flower and be sure to pick them on a dry sunny day.

#2) Remove all leaves from the stems and tear larger leaves in smaller pieces to allow mor airflow to reach more surface for quicker drying. The quicker an herb dries, the more essential oils it retains.

#3) Place your fresh herbs in one layer in a large paper bag, position the bag on it's largest side and spread the herb evenly on the bottom of the bag. (You may need several paper bags to lay out all of the herbs you have collected. Mark the bag with the name of the herb and set the bag on it's side in a sunny location (as near a window or on a shelf in a greenhouse). Be sure the opening of the bag is pointed away from direct sunlight. Herbs should not be exposed to direct sunlight as they will be over dried and lose their essential oil content. Be sure the end of the bag remains as open as possible for ventilation.

#4) Turn your herbs daily being sure that all sides of the herbs are evenly being distributed with heat from the sun. This process normally takes 3-4 days depending on how much herb you place in the bag and the type of herb. The herbs are dry when they are able to be crumbled in your hand. If your herbs look too dry 'spent and brown' have overdried your herbs! Most herbs should remain green and fresh smelling after drying.

#5) You may now store your herbs whole or decide to place them in a food proccessor for chopping. To store herbs, either place in an airtight glass jar for use near your cooking area or place in an airtight plastic bag (vaccuum sealed if possible) until you want to use them. Store them in a cool dark place and your herbs will stay freshest up till 6 months!


We use this method for all of our herb drying and found it to be the best way to retain the herbs essential oils in the shortest amount of drying time. There are other methods that can be used such as hanging & oven drying...but these methods often times create mold when hanging (not getting enough ventilation) and oven drying tends to overdry the herbs robbing them of their essence.

How much fresh herb to use?

Depending on the herb, it normally takes 2 full grocery bags of herb to make 1 gallon of dried. This would require several bags to dry in (approx. 4-6) to spread the herbs out evenly for drying. If you have the patience and the time, you will find this process well worth it in the winter months to come knowing you have fresh organic dried herbs ready to use that you made!

Enjoy the process! Remember, use only fresh Organic herbs!


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