Imagine how your dishes will taste this winter if you have your own spices from your own garden to add to them. Sage, thyme, savory herb, dill, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary and parsley are not as difficult to dry due to the low moisture they contain in their leaves, which make them easy to dry out or freeze.
Even some of them can be used all year round in a dry state and they will still have a good taste. Here's how to do it in a few easy steps. You do not need any special equipment or abilities.
The best time to pick the spices for drying is just before they bloom. This is the time when the leaves are supplied with the most oil, which gives a stronger aroma and taste to the spices. Cut the spices when the leaves are dry, either in the late morning or early evening, but not in the hot midday sun.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the large stems or twigs from fully grown plants. Gently shake each twig to remove any insects and flies. Inspect each twig and remove old, damaged or diseased leaves.
Rinse each branch with cold water and dry it with a towel or kitchen paper to absorb all of the water. Spices tend to form mold when wet.
Turn the branches upside down and remove the leaves along the top of the stem. The lower leaves are not as fragrant and fresh as the younger leaves, which are closest to the tips. Tie five or six stems together in a small bouquet, making a small by pile at one end of the bunch.
Hang the bouquets made in a ventilated and warm place, away from direct sunlight and let them dry. The attic is a great option. Leave them for about two weeks or more, then store them in suitable containers or bags in a dry and dark place.
Dried spices are stored for years, but are best used within a year. Most spices will lose some of their flavor as they age and more of them will be needed to achieve the desired flavor when cooking.