My plan for today was to work on the quilt for my cousin’s wedding, but I woke up with an allergy headache and decided that that just wasn’t going to happen. I took an allergy pill and then I took a nap. When I woke up the headache was gone, but I was still drowsy. It was a beautiful day to work in the yard, but no energy for that either, so I decided that I would dry some herbs. It’s easy, doesn’t require energy other than to walk out on my deck and cut them, and the most challenging thought requirement was remembering to set the timer.
After a while of browsing some blogs and Pinterest, I got out my scissors and went to work. It’s like when your kids get haircuts before school starts after a long summer of putting it off. Several of my herbs look like it’s their first day of school with their buzz cuts, especially the thyme. I only cut from the plants that I will be immediately drying, for me that means two at a “thyme”. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I dry them in my oven and only have enough room for two cookie sheets.
This is so easy, here’s my process. I preheat the oven to 350o and put my empty cookie sheets inside. I prefer stoneware and I like to preheat them, otherwise it takes longer for anything to cook on them. I walk out on the deck and cut from two herb plants and bring them in and spread them on the cookie sheets. It’s ok if they overlap a little, they still dry out well. I only cut what I am putting in the oven right away because herbs tend to wilt quickly. Next, I put them in the oven for 10 minutes. When I take them out, I let them cool for about 5 minutes or so and then I remove the leaves from the stems. I just hold the end of the stem and run my thumb and finger down it and the leaves come right off. If some don’t, they probably aren’t dry enough and you want to leave those out anyway so the dried herbs don’t mold in storage. When I am done putting those in jars, I go out and cut the next batch and repeat the process.
Voila! The freshest dried herbs you’ll ever eat.I use these 8oz. Mason jars because they are cute and small enough to fit into my limited cabinet space. I cut circles from pretty scrapbook paper and tape (double-sided) them to the top for easy to write on and remove labels.
On an unrelated, yet also culinary note, I fell in love with my food processor today. I have only ever used it for chopping vegetables for relish. Today, I sliced potatoes and onions with it. The heavens opened and the angels sang. It has earned a permanent spot on my tiny counter. It was previously stored in the attic because I have no more room in my cabinets.