3 Easy Ways to Dehydrate Herbs Off-Grid.
Drying herbs has to be one of the easiest things to do to preserve your harvest and save money. You can use your dehydrated herbs for: gifts, tea blends, spice mixes, potpourri and so much more. I love projects that take very little time and effort but have big rewards; dehydrating herbs is just that- easy and effortless.
There are several reasons why you should dry your own herbs:
1# Saves Money. They are far cheaper then store-bought herbs. A small handful of bay leaves can cost $5.00 at the store but an entire Bay plant only cost $4.00, and you can harvest from it for years and years.
2# Organically Grown. Even products labeled organic are still sprayed with chemicals. Processing your own dried herbs is the only true way to guarantee a chemical-free product.
3 # Freshness. Do you know how old the herbs are that you’re buying in the store? Me either, but I can bet you they aren’t as fresh as the ones you can pick out your front door.
3 Easy Ways to Dehydrate Herbs Off-Grid
You won’t need any special equipment for this project and pretty much any age family member can help. The key things you want to remember is to wash and thoroughly pat the herbs dry to remove any bugs, pollen, dirt, etc. and to make sure they have ample air circulation when drying. You want the herbs thoroughly dry before storing, any moisture left in the plant could mold your herbs during storage.
When dehydrating herbs, I like to cut the whole stem and wait until the herbs are dried before I remove the leaves. I do this with every herb but Bay. When drying Bay leaves, I only remove the leaf and do not cut the branch or stem.
Your herbs will grow better when you prune them for harvest; to learn more about how to prune your herbs click here.
When herbs are dried, they are safe from bacteria, mold and yeast and will remain potent for at least six to 12 months. To remove moisture, all you need is air circulation and some warmth can also help speed the drying process.
Dehydrating Herbs Off-Grid #1 Hanging
After you cut, wash and dry your herbs, gather a handful of herbs and bunch them together at the end with twine, string, sisal, or a rubber band and wrap it around the stems and hang upside down to dry. Make sure you do this in a place that is not too damp (not the kitchen). I use this dehydrating method for drying throughout the year but I also do it as an inexpensive decoration.
Dehydrating Herbs Off-Grid #2 In the Car
During the heat of the summer, your car dash is the perfect place to dry your herbs. After you cut, wash and pat-dry your herbs, place some newspaper, paper towel, or hand towel on your dash and lay out your herbs to dry. You can’t imagine the amazing aroma that will waft by when you open you car door.
Dehydrating Herbs Off-Grid #3 Screen
If you have an old window or door screen, this is a great, inexpensive way to solar dehydrate. If you have two screens, you can sandwich the herbs between them so they don’t blow away while drying.
Once you have dehydrated your herbs, you can store them in an airtight container or jar. I sometimes include a cotton ball with my herbs to absorb any excess moisture but it’s not necessary. Make sure to immediately label and date your dehydrated herbs for identification.