Preserving summer plants for winter cooking

Parsley harvested and ready to dry.

Happy November! It’s getting much colder in the northeast and it’s time to bring in plants and herbs to protect them from frost... It’s hard to see my plants wither away in the frost each year. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have any wonderful herbs this year, but JP and Steven had some large herb plants on their patio. They’ve brought many of their plants into their home for the winter. While they have the hope the herbs will thrive inside for the winter they also chose to dry and bottle some of their herbs. Drying herbs is a simple way to preserve herbs for cooking all winter!

Drying an herb is a very simple process.

Parsley after drying and being removed from the stems.

Gather together the following:

  • Cleaned herbs
  • Parchment paper
  • A cookie sheet
  • Oven: Set at ~175°F
  • Bottles or jars with lids

Herbs can be stored in a variety of vessels!

Simply clean and towel dry the herbs you would like to dry. Herbs that dry well are parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet. The parchment helps to keep the herbs off of the metal pan which can sometime cause increased browning during the drying process. Do not crowd the pan with herbs. Place them in a preheated oven—less than 180°F. Watch them carefully checking every 30 minutes. They are done when the leaves are dry and crumbly. 

Remember to allow them to cool completely before removing the leaves from their stem and placing them in the bottles and jars. Store in a cool dark place, a kitchen cabinet will work well.

While JP and Steven used their oven to dry herbs there are other ways to dry them, they can be hung to dry and even dried in the microwave. Have you dried herbs? I would love to hear about your experience and the method you like to use. Share with your fellow readers and us on the TU living Facebook (@TUliving.Kathy) or Instagram and Twitter (@TU_living).