Create your own herb drying rack + begin preserving your homegrown herbs.
Imagine walking through a home 200 years ago and seeing bunches of dried herbs hanging from racks or beams in the kitchen. For most of society, gone are the days of growing, harvesting, drying and preserving your own herbs. Though for some of us, they don’t have to be.
Drying + preserving your homegrown herbs is a simple, cost effective and fun way for you and your family to add value to your home. It’s also a great way to make sure what you’re using in the kitchen is actually organic, as many store-bought dried herbs are not. Additionally, it’s an eye-catching conversation piece for your kitchen (that also smells great.)
If your modern-day kitchen is lacking a dry cellar or exposed beams, here’s a quick and inexpensive DIY to dry your own herbs!
Gather your supplies:
- 2 ft. x 1/2 in. copper piping (this is the one I used from Home Depot)
- five wooden clothespins
- cotton twine of any color (I went with cream)
- strong craft adhesive (y’all know I love me some E6000)
String your piping. The length and tautness of your twine can be to your liking. Secure with a knot.
Secure your twine to the ends of your piping with a dab of adhesive, just inside the pipe. Pull taut and hold for a moment to secure.
First make sure the piping is secured so that it doesn’t roll around on you. Begin adding your clothespins. I used a cotton Q-tip to dab the E6000 onto the copper piping.
When the glue is still wet, flip the pipe clothespins side down so they dry evenly!
Now for the fun part! Collecting your herbs!
Whether homegrown from organic seeds or bought as babies, ideally you should harvest before the herbs begin to flower. Trim the sprigs so there is enough stem to hang by.
If gathering in larger bunches (let’s say from your garden), tie a bit of the twine or a rubber band around the stems to hang from the clothespins. You may need to tighten the string as the herbs dry and the stems shrink. If in smaller bunches, just clamp directly with the clothespin.
Now hang and let dry!
Disclosure: this step may take up to two weeks.
Keep checking your herbs every few days. Make sure there is no molding on your leaves.
Gather your dried herbs. Once dry enough, they should crumble in your hands like autumn leaves, and should easily separate from the stems.
Add to your mortar (whether wood or stone) and begin to grind with the pestle. A plastic bar muddler works great as well.
Once they are ground to your liking, perhaps smaller for cooking and larger for tea blends, store in a cork-topped glass jar and enjoy.
A few ideas for different blends:
- Italian blend: basil, oregano + parsley
- Autumn blend: sage + rosemary
- Sweet Mint for adding to tea
- Bedtime tea blend: damiana + tulsi (holy basil)