The text of the notification
This method of preservation is easy, effective and doesn’t cost any money to do. The concept of air drying is simple: eliminate the water in the leaves in the fastest way possible, while retaining the core flavour of the herb.
The following herbs can be dried:
In order to minimize handling the herbs during the drying process, you should keep the leaves on the stems and group the bouquet together with a loose knot. Hang the bouquet upside down in an airy dark place. You can also place them in a paper bag (with holes in it) to protect the herb from dust and light.
Depending on the quantity and the drying conditions, fresh herbs should completely dry in about 4 to 8 days using this method. Drying the herbs in the oven is not recommended, as most ovens have a minimum temperature setting of 35°C – which will burn the leaves.
Same goes for drying the herbs in the microwave. While it is a quick solution for some things, herbs are far too delicate for this method. If kept in the microwave a few seconds longer than necessary, the leaves will start to cook!
Herbs that have been grown and then dried should then be kept in labelled air-tight containers and kept out of the light.
The first week after drying you should check their condition every day and air dry again if necessary. Once dried, the herbs will keep for 12 months, or until the next summer season.
This method can be used for the following herbs:
Finely chop the herbs and put them in an ice cub tray. Fill the tray with water or olive oil and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, put the cubes in a freezer bag and defrost them as need be. The texture will obviously not be the same as fresh herbs, but the flavour will be exactly the same. Once frozen, they will keep for about 6 months.
When it comes to mint, you can either dry it or freeze it. For freezing, arrange the leaves in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, put the leaves in a bag, and return them to the freezer.
This text was prepared for the July 16, 2009 episode of the French show “Par-dessus le marché“. Watch the corresponding video (in French).