Herb drying is the easiest and cheapest way to provide a variety of forage for the winter months when fresh herbs are not available.
I am fortunate that we have a local community allotment which I volunteer at. In exchange for weeding I get to take home the weeds which I dry for use in the gift baskets I make for charities.
When the weather is good I dry in a hanging mesh rack which has several layers and allows good air flow. For bunches of herbs, especially if you’re drying indoors, hanging racks for utensils such as the one made by Kitchencraft, make good herb dryers. Stackable mesh racks used to dry cloths also make good indoor herb dryers as they can dry a lot of herbs in a small space. They are all pretty easy to find on Ebay or Amazon
Useful herb drying kit on Ebay
- Dry pieces of the same thickness together – separate thick stems from thin leaves
- Make sure the material is clean before drying
- Make sure all herbs are completely dry before storing.
Storing Dried Herbs
Keep dried herbs in a cool, dry place. If they sweat in a plastic container or get damp in any way they will quickly develop mould. You can safely store herbs for a year after drying.
Good plants to grow for drying
The best plants to grow are those which produce more forage than your furry family can eat fresh. Alfalfa grows very vigorously but it can only be fed in small amounts or as a balancer for cereals as it is high in calcium.
If you have Cleavers growing locally you should dry as much of the young plant as possible. It will grow back the following season if you allow some to seed. It a seasonal plant, growing only for a few months. Once it seeds you would not want to feed it.
Golden Rod is a great herb for animals that are off colour. It will grow back even bushier if you take out the top shoots.
Harvest willow herb and groundsel young too. They can get diseases (characterised by orange or white marks) as they get older. Apart from that they will seed everywhere if left.