A simple snip or cut and you are done.
Drying can be a problem when you do not know how to do it. When you remember that an herb is just like any other plant it is easier to understand how to treat them.
You must first gather the herbs you are going to dry. It is best to cut longer stems than many short ones. You are going to hang the herbs upside down in a well ventilated area.
You do not want to hang them in bright sunlight. Although the sunlight will make the herbs grow wonderfully, the light can cause the herbs to lose some of their potency when drying.
When you have cut four or five long (8 to 10 inches) stems off your herb plant, you need to shake them off gently. This will ensure there are no insects on the leaves or branches.
Strip off any dead or diseased leaves. Make sure you also strip about the last three inches of the stem. You need to tie the cuttings together at the bare end.
You can use string or even a rubber band if you wish.
After you have tied the herbs into bundles, you can either just hang them up for drying or insert them into a brown paper bag which you have cut holes into for ventilation. Tie the end of the bag shut with the bare branches sticking out. You can then hang the entire package upside down by the same string you tied everything together with. Keep a close eye on the herbs as they dry. You do not want them to become moldy. Once they are completely dried, you can prepare them for storage.
This can take a week or two. Just be patient.
You can also air dry the herbs. Air drying is simply spreading the leaves of the herbs onto screens so the air can penetrate both sides of the leaf. This will allow the herbs to dry uniformly. It is best to use one screen for each type of herb. This is the best method for flowers.
Do not make the mistake of thinking you will not use that much. In the summer when you have a good supply of fresh herbs, you may not realize how much of the herb you use.
This is because the plant is constantly growing and replenishing your supply.
Dried herbs are stronger than the fresh ones. Fresh herbs contain water. The dried herbs contain a more concentrated essential oil. You will find you do not need to use as much of the dried herbs to get the same flavors. Yet with the ability to store your own herbs,
you might want to make sure you have enough until next spring.
Roots and barks should be carefully washed and brushed of dirt. Chop them before you dry them, into pieces 1 inch thick or less depending on how tough the root is. You can cut up bark after drying but it is easier to chop bark before drying. These can be dried in the sun or a dehydrator which will sped up the drying process by 3-4 times.
Herbs can be oven dried or heated to force dry them, but this is not the best way to dry your herbs. The heat can actually release the essential oils which give the herbs their wonderful aroma and flavor. It makes no sense to use a drying system which will prematurely release the very thing which makes the herbs so desirable.
The important thing to remember from all of this is to make sure the herbs are kept in a warm, dry, and ventilated area while you are waiting for them to dry.
Enjoy your bounty all year long.