If you want to enjoy the properties and aroma of aromatic and medicinal herbs for longer, I recommend dehydrating them to preserve them. In this article, I share three techniques for drying plants so you can learn how to do it properly. This way you can make the most of their benefits and enjoy their freshness even when they are not available in season.
Some tips before drying aromatic and medicinal herbs
To obtain high-quality dehydrated plants, it is important to ensure a safe and sustainable harvest. This first step is key to ensuring your plants are in the best condition before dehydration.
Once the plants are collected:
- Shake to remove any traces of dirt, dust or insects.
- It is important to carefully examine the leaves of the plant on both sides for signs of pests. This step is essential to ensure effective and safe drying while achieving optimal quality.
- It is important to start the drying process as quickly as possible to prevent the flowers and leaves from wilting.
After checking the quality of your harvest of aromatic and medicinal plants, it is important to know that there are several drying methods to properly preserve them. You have the opportunity to choose the most suitable method according to your needs and availability. When carried out carefully, they all ensure excellent results and optimal preservation of the plant’s properties.
3 Techniques for Drying Herbs
Drying plants is a classic and effective technique. To do this, you need to group the plants in small bouquets. It is important to be careful when tying to avoid over-tightening, as a looser tie that allows air to circulate between the sheets is better. This will prevent mold from forming or the plant from rotting.
Once you have prepared the bouquets, it is important to hang them upside down in a dry, shady place. Be sure to separate them well and allow air to circulate freely around them. This means the freshness of the flowers is retained for longer.
The duration of this process can vary depending on the type of plant. For some plants with higher water content and stronger fibrous leaves, it may take 7 to 20 days.
There are some practical options when drying herbs like thyme or rosemary, whose leaves break off easily. One option is to place clean trays under the bouquets to catch falling leaves. Another alternative is to place them in a clean paper bag, such as a bread bag, to dry. These measures help maintain the quality and preservation of the herbs during the drying process. This way you won’t lose any of your harvest when the bouquets start to dry out.
Dry in drawers with grids
In this situation, it is important to place the freshly collected plants in boxes or trays with a mesh bottom. This allows air to circulate properly between the leaves and flowers, which is essential for maintaining their freshness and quality.
It is recommended to change the pieces every two to three days so that they dry evenly. Drying times are the same as hanging in bouquets, so it is important to place them in a dry place out of direct light.
How to dry plants in the oven
If you have limited space at home or simply don’t want to wait long for your things to air dry, there is an alternative: use the oven to speed up the drying process.
To dry the plants in this case, it is advisable to place them on a baking tray and then put them in the oven at a low temperature, between 40 and 50 ° C. It is important to leave the oven door slightly open to allow check the drying process and prevent plants from burning.
In this case, the drying time is significantly reduced to just one hour, although it should be noted that this time may vary depending on the type of plant being treated.
If your plants’ leaves turn from green to gray-green, it is the right time to remove them from the greenhouse. This color change shows you that the conditions in the oven are optimal and your plants are ready to be moved to a different environment.
Use a food dehydrator
The dehydrator is not only suitable for drying food, but is also perfect for quickly drying flowers and leaves of medicinal plants. This tool allows you to preserve the natural properties and benefits of plants for later use in infusions, cosmetic products or medical treatments. This kitchen appliance is ideal for controlling the temperature and drying times of food. With this device you no longer have to worry about your herbs burning and losing their aroma and properties.
Now you have several alternatives to transform your harvest into preserved aromatic and medicinal plants, very useful for a variety of home uses. These herbs and medicinal plants are very versatile and can be used in various ways, such as making herbal teas, decoctions, macerates and oleolates. You can also add them to your recipes for tasty and aromatic dishes and find many other uses for them.
Don’t forget to store your dried plants in clean jars. If you’re interested, I’ll explain how to create beautiful labels for it in this post. For practical reasons, you can also garnish the bouquets with aromatic leaf mixtures.
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