I really hate wasting things, so it’s always a sad occasion when I have to throw out fresh herbs that have gone bad. I always intend to use them! But sometimes life just gets in the way, and then you’re pulling a produce bag of greenish slime out of the back of your fridge. :-/ But I recently learned about a simple way to save those fresh herbs, and I’m excited to share it with you today!
I’ll be showing you how you can make your own dried herbs in 3 easy steps. You don’t need any special equipment to do it, and it really couldn’t be any easier. It’s a great way to reduce waste and get your money’s worth from those tasty fresh herbs. So let’s get started!
How To Dry Fresh Herbs
Step 1 – Prep
Start by rinsing your fresh herbs thoroughly. Lay them out on a paper towel and pat them dry. You want the herbs to be as dry as possible when they go into the oven.
If you’re drying less hardy herbs, like cilantro or parsley, separate the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. If you’re drying hardier herbs, like rosemary, you can skip this step. The leaves will fall right off the stems as they dry.
Arrange your herbs on a lined baking sheet. I put down one of my oven mats as a liner, which worked wonderfully! The herbs didn’t stick at all and it made cleanup a breeze! You can get one for YOUR kitchen here. :-)
Step 2 – Dry
Put your tray of herbs into your oven at the lowest possible temperature (150-170 degrees, depending on your oven).
Use a wooden spoon to prop the oven door open. This allows any moisture from the herbs to exit the oven, so it doesn’t inhibit the drying process.
Keep an eye on your herbs, as some will dry pretty quickly. The cilantro shown here dried in only 30 minutes in the oven! A good rule of thumb is to let the herbs go for 30 minutes, then check on them every 10 minutes until the herbs crumble between your fingers.
Step 3 – Store
Once your herbs have dried out, you can break them down into flakes using one of two methods. The first method is just to crumble them up with your fingers. Dry herbs are quite brittle so this is generally pretty easy.
The second option is to use a coffee/spice grinder. Just pulse the grinder a few times so you don’t overdo it and powder them accidentally.
Let the herbs cool completely, then pour them into a small airtight container to store. Using an oven mat comes in handy for doing this!
Using Your Dried Herbs
Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh herbs, so you’ll want to take that into account when using dried herbs in your recipes.
A good rule of thumb is to use 1/3 of the amount of dried herbs as a substitute for fresh herbs. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, you could use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (since 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon).