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Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Healthy Recipes

Drying Herbs



Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano have been used in many a kitchen for many years. They help our food to taste better, give a great scent not only to the food but the entire kitchen and can give our cooked foods some color. Buying herbs in a local grocery store can become expensive but growing your own herbs can not only save you money but can give fresh herbs that will be a great addition to any food item.

Can you imagine what your food would taste like without seasoning? Pretty bland huh? Thatís why spices are such an important part of any kitchen. Purchasing those herbs can be rather expensive but growing and drying your own isnít as difficult as one might think. Start with a nice sunny area in your yard. Pick the types of herbs that you use most often. Also be sure the soil is rich and in good shape.


The Fun and Exciting Side of Drying Herbs

Herbs are no different then any other type of plant. They need water and nutrients from the sun and soil to survive and thrive. When you cut the leaves you will see the herbs become much fuller and more leaves will start to grow. When growing herbs you will find that it is very easy to become overwhelmed. Donít worry family and friends will be more than happy to take them off your hands to use in their own kitchens.

Herbs can be used fresh or dried. Drying herbs isnít all that difficult either. There are a few different way you can accomplish this task. Just remember that you want the herbs to dry not shrink away.

A wire rack or cooling rack, a colander, paper towel, cheese cloth and string are all you need to dry herbs. It doesnít take much and the hardest part is having the patience to wait on them to dry.

Always be sure to wash your herbs in cool water. Whether you are using them fresh or going to dry them you need to make sure they are clean and ready to eat. When drying herbs you want all the moisture out of the leaves. Use the colander to drain the leaves once you have rinsed them. Paper towel will also work to remove any visible moisture from the leaves.

Now hereís the fun part. To dry you herbs you have several options. One option is to place the leaves in a single layer on a wire rack. . If your herbs have stalks remove it before placing the leaves to dry. The rack needs to be in a dry humidity free area. Humidity causes moisture so you want to make sure they are out of an area that has high humidity.

If you are going to retain the stalks there is another great way to dry them. Tie all the stocks together with the string. Hang the herbs upside down from a nail or hook. This can be done inside or outside. If drying outside cover them with a cheese cloth to keep dirt and bugs from finding their way to the plants.

You can also dry your herbs in the oven. The temperature should be very low around 100 to 120 degrees. Lay the herbs in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place them in the oven. You will need to watch them closely so they donít shrink or crumble into a cookie sheet of ashes. You can also do this in a microwave but you must be extremely careful. It doesnít take long in the microwave and if you donít pay close attention you could end up with a bunch of herb dust in a short period of time.

Now itís time for the exciting part. Not only will you have some of the best herbs to season your food with but you will have enough herbs to spread around to family and friends. Dried herbs stay flavorful for up to six months so you can have those great tasting herbs all year round. Share the fun and excitement with others and enjoy all the great meals that come from growing and drying your own herbs.


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