Blog:   The Home Snooper

Guide to Drying Herbs

How to Harvest and Dry Herbs

Whether you grow your own herbs, or bought more from the market than you can use at one time, drying herbs can be an easy and practical way to store them for later use.

When To Harvest

an herb drying rack

There is both an art and a science selecting the perfect harvest time. You may need to do some experimentation to learn what works best for your plants and drying conditions.

Step 1: Harvesting

Using a very sharp knife or garden scissors cut your stems. Do not pick them as it will cause bruising on the stem and a place for decomposition to start. If possible leave an extra inch or two at the bottom of your herbs for bundling.

Harvest your herbs in the late morning when all the dew has had a chance to dry. This helps to prevent mildew. Visually inspect the herbs. Remove any bugs or damaged leaves or flowers with your sharp knife before drying.

This is a list of many common herbs that can be air dried using the following simple instructions.

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Celery Leaves
  • Chervil
  • Chili Peppers
  • Chives
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • File Powder (Sassafras)
  • Garlic
  • Green Onions
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme


Step 2: Bundling (two methods)

Open Method

Using a rubber band near the cut end of the herbs, gather 5 to 7 stalks together and attach them together. You want your bundled end to be very secure as stalks shrink during the drying process. But you want the other end loose enough to allow a little air flow through out the bundle.

Clothes Drying Rack

Paper Bag Method

Use paper lunch sacks that you have prepared by cutting a couple dozen half inch holes in on the sides of the bag, but not the bottom or within 1 inch of the bottom. Place your herbs in the sack. You will want 1 to 2 inch of your stalks to be outside of the opening of the bag. Using a rubber band or a piece of string secure the open end of bag to the stalks.

Note 1: Green Onions and Garlic are hung by the tops with the bulbs hanging down. The tops can be braided together for hanging.

Note 2: Do not bundle different herbs together as their flavors and fragrances will transfer to each other during the drying process.

Step 3: Drying

Hang your herbs by the rubber band or string onto your drying rack. Drying times vary from a few days to a couple weeks. You will know your herbs are dry when they crumble easily.

Locate your drying rack in a dark warm room, garage or walk in closet. If your herbs are bundled in paper bags, you can dry them on a covered porch or patio. Your goal is to keep herbs out of direct sunlight yet in a place with good air circulation.

Your herbs are dry when the leave easily crumble. Seeds will be released during the drying process, so place newspaper under your drying rack to keep seeds off the floor and to gather seeds for next year's garden.

Step 4: Storing

Store your herbs in small glass jars with tight fitting lids. Keep the jars out of the light, away from heat and out of your refrigerator.

Disclaimer: You are responsible for any suggestions you choose to follow, or not follow. This advice is offered for consideration with no guarantee of safety or effectiveness. Use this information at your own risk.