The Easiest Hack To Dry Fresh Herbs At Home

If you’re like me, then fresh herbs are a must-have in day-to-day life. But the sad truth I – and know you – will have to come to terms with is that no matter how much basil or parsley you heap on top of every meal, there’s just always going to be some leftover. There are some hacks to storing them right and making them last as long as possible but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and admit defeat. But when you learn how to dry herbs at home, even when you lose, you win.

Sure, you could go out and buy ready-made dry herbs from the supermarket but often they’ve been lying on shelves and in warehouses for so long that they barely have anything left to give. Plus, they usually come with a steep price tag. By drying them at home, you can save a whole lot of money and a whole lot of herbs. 

Unfortunately, this won’t work the same way for every species and every herb has its own water content oils and nuances. Starting with soft leafy herbs like coriander, parsley and basil is a good choice but even woodier stems like rosemary and thyme can be dried with relative ease.

Be warned, it's not going to taste exactly the same as a fresh herb and if perennial freshness is what you’re looking for, you’d be better off growing your own. But fresh dried herbs have a pungency that pre-packaged ones can match so it’s well worth the time and effort for the extra punch of flavour. 

The most essential part of the drying process is to get rid of every single last drop of moisture. In ancient times, apothecaries and cooks would dry herbs for their respective broths by hanging them upside down letting the moisture just seep away. But this is 2022 and we don’t have time for that. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and in particular the microwave, you can have perfectly dried herbs ready in minutes. 

If you want to up your cooking game and brag to people about how your secret is fresh herbs, just follow these simple steps below.

  • Separate the woody main stems from the leaves and tender shoots of your herbs.
  • Wash the herbs thoroughly and pat dry or allow to air dry.
  • Spread them out in a completely flat layer on a paper towel and place the towel in the microwave.
  • Set it for 30 seconds at high heat, bring them out, toss them and put them in again for another 15-30 seconds.
  • Take them out and check the texture, they should be crispy and crumble between your fingers. 
  • If not, return them to the microwave for 15 seconds increments until you reach the desired texture.
  • Now that you know the best-kept secret for delicious, daily herbs, go ahead and start mixing and matching to create your own new and unique blends. 
  • It’s time to start filling up your storecupboard with the freshest, homemade flavours.