Now you can enjoy fresh herbs all fall and winter

As the summer harvest season winds down, it’s time to figure out what to do with the fresh produce you won’t be able to consume right away but don’t want to waste. You could can your tomatoes as pasta sauce, pickle your cucumbers, and start making pesto with your basil—all excellent options. Another? Throughout the fall and winter, dry fresh herbs to use in soups and meals.

When it comes to preserving these aromatics, you have a variety of options. For example, you may use an oven, a dehydrator, or another expensive appliance. You might also take Kalei Buczek’s advise, who is a horticulture specialist and the manager of ReWild plant and flower studio in Washington, DC: Simply take the traditional approach. “When it comes to preserving herbs, I believe in air-drying,” she explains.

This method entails tying herbs together with twine and hanging them upside down. Buczek adds, “You’ll want to gather your herbs while they’re at their freshest.” You’ll be able to get the most flavour out of your herbs if you do it this way.

Buczek advises against going overboard while bundling. “Make sure you’re not packaging too many things together,” she advises. Otherwise, the inside portions will not dry as well as the outer ones, resulting in fewer dried herbs and, more crucially, the possibility of mould spreading throughout the bunch. Buczek adds, “You also want to make sure your herbs are drying somewhere with sufficient air flow.” She recommends avoiding environments that are overly damp or dank, which most likely includes your restroom. She explains that basements are popular because they are cold, dark, and maintain a steady temperature. If you don’t have access to a basement, consider using a closet or pantry.

Buczek advises that once your herbs are totally dried (usually seven to ten days, or when they’re brittle and crackly), you should store them with caution. “The dried herbs will be brittle, so handle them carefully after they are completely dry,” she warns. “Make sure they’re kept in an airtight container.”

Buczek recommends using a microwave or oven to speed up the procedure. Place four or five bunches of herbs between two paper towels and zap them for two to three minutes for the first choice. If they’re still wet after that, microwave them in 30-second intervals until they’re completely dry. Fresh herbs can be dried in a standard oven by laying bundles on a cookie sheet and baking them at 180 degrees for two to four hours.

Regardless of which method you employ, your future self will thank you for drying your fresh herbs now so that you can utilise them later.

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