Does anyone remember the old wooden hangers of yesteryear? They were well-built, and primarily made for hanging pants and skirts. In today’s world, they make a great tool for drying herbs – with little fuss. This method of drying is extremely easy! It is not nearly as labor intensive as my old way – which usually required standing on a small ladder and neatly tying the bunches of herbs with string. I’m a lot older and wiser now, and it’s always great to find alternate uses for old forgotten items.
I used the herb, Marjoram, for my project. It has extremely aromatic leaves, and I can certainly tell a difference when I open up the store-bought variety and compare it to herbs I have personally harvested. The home-harvested Marjoram is so much fresher, and you can tell the difference by the color of the leaves and the strong aroma.
You want to make sure your herbs are clean, with no dirt, dust and/or insects. I like to place them on a white paper towel after cleaning. The white paper towel removes any excess moisture, but also makes it very easy to see any dust or debris that might remain. If I had tried to inspect them on my dark counter-top, this would not be the case. Once you are confident the herbs are clean and ready to go, the next step is to gather them in bunches.
Herbs need air between them to dry correctly, so I usually place about 4 bunches – evenly spaced – along the length of my hanger. I gather a few sprigs and keep them together with a rubber band. You could also use twine or something else to keep the bunches together; however, I like a loosely attached rubber band because the rubber acts as a cushion when I squeeze the hanger together. This “cushion” protects the stems of the herbs, keeping them from being crushed. Whatever you choose to bind them, just make sure the stems are not bound too tight or you could prohibit the essential oils from flowing from the stem to the leaves.
As the Marjoram dries, the leaves start to shrivel and turn brown. This intensifies as it ages. My marjoram only took five days before it was ready to be harvested and put in spice jars. If you are new to drying herbs, you can learn more about the entire process through a variety of great resource books.
It is quite popular these days to grow and harvest your own herbs. They now make Herb Drying Racks that you can easily purchase at a store, or online. Some of them are great, keeping out dust and debris – eliminating the need to cover your herbs with a paper bag. Whatever method of drying you prefer, I wish you much luck and success in the endeavor! This is one of those things in life that requires very little effort, but will provide you with maxium benefits.