Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600288
At the end of the season, garden herbs may be dried and stored for use during winter.
Herbs should be air-dried in a dark place that never gets hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best dried herbs come from the tender, flavorful leaves from the upper 6 inches of stalk.
Cut herbs on a sunny morning after the dew has been burned off. The best plants are those that have just begun to bloom. Leave most of the stem on when cutting herbs and remove tough leaves growing lower than 6 inches on the stalk. Take off blossom heads.
Wash herbs in cold water, drain and blot dry with a single layer of cheesecloth. Place them in a dry, SHADY place until the leaves are so dry that they crumble when handled. Herbs dried in the shade have better color and flavor than sun dried herbs.
Leafy stems may be tied in bunches and hung in a well- ventilated, dust-free room to dry.
Microwave ovens may be used to dry small quantities of herbs. The moisture content of herbs is extremely low, so place on a small container of water in the oven during drying to prevent damage to the magnetron tube.
Place 4 or 5 herb stalks with leaves between paper towels. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Check herbs for dryness. If additional time is needed, set timer for 30 seconds. Check again and repeat with 30 second intervals, if necessary.