Herbs bring a lot of powerful flavors to the table. They contain potent medicinal properties, which have been used by various cultures for thousands of years. A lot of people have small herb gardens, and those who don’t have gardens like to purchase herb bunches from the store. After you harvest herbs or bring them home, how often do they go bad before you use them? Drying your fresh herbs may be the solution to this problem.
Difference Between Dried & Fresh Herbs:
There are a lot of herbs and spices, all of which have varying nutritional benefits. Cinnamon, for example, is only consumed in its dried form and has been known to regulate blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. Green herbs like thyme, rosemary, mint, or oregano may have some nutrients that get lost in the drying process, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t beneficial.
Comparing Nutritional Content Of Dried & Fresh Herbs:
For this comparison, we are going to use basil as an example. One ounce of fresh basil provides you with 30% of the daily value of vitamin A, 145% of the daily value of vitamin K, 8% of the daily value of vitamin C, and contains 88mg of omega-3 fatty acids. One tablespoon of dried basil, on the other hand, provides you with 4% of the daily value of vitamin A, 43% of the daily value of vitamin K, 2% of the daily value of vitamin C, and only contains 33mg of omega-3s. It is evident that the numbers decrease, but there are still nutritional benefits of consuming dried herbs, especially if you dry them yourself.
Method #1: Air Dry Your Herbs
Air-drying your herbs is probably the easiest method for drying herbs. After picking your herbs or buying a few bunches from the store, wash them under some cool water. Make sure that your herbs are held together in bunches. You can use a light rubber band or string to tie up the stems. Lightly pat the herbs dry with a paper towel. Once they are dry, attach them to a string (using a clothespin and string works fantastically) and hang them stem side up in an open space that has a breeze. You can also place them near a ceiling fan.
Now, you wait. Pay attention to them to make sure they aren’t growing mold. Once they have dried, take them down and process them separately in a coffee grinder of food processor. Store them in separate glass airtight containers and use them as you please.
Method #2: Dehydrate Your Herbs
This method takes much less time than air-drying your herbs. Wash your herbs and pat them dry (detailed in Method #1). Place the herbs and stems on your dehydrator trays and set them inside your dehydrator. Dehydrate your herbs at 115 degrees F and check them periodically to see if they are dried. Drying times will differ depending on the type of dehydrator you have; it may take a couple hours or it may take eight hours. Once they have dried, take them down and process them separately in a coffee grinder of food processor. Store them in separate glass airtight containers and use them as you please.
Now you have two awesome methods for drying your herbs. They aren’t devoid of nutrients just because they are dried!