Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

by Brandi Savitt – revised September 9, 2013

Drying Your Own Herbs

Calling all gardeners and farmers’ market frequenters who can’t get enough of  fresh herbs!  Harvest season is here.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t savor your favorite organic herbs and spices all winter long – without the price hefty tag!  Drying herbs is an easy and fun craft – and, yes, a great activity for kids.  Not only will you save money by stocking your spice cabinet with dried herbs from your own garden, get even more creative and give a trio of spices as a hostess gift or a stocking stuffer this holiday season!

The Easiest Herbs to Dry

According to, while you need a dehydrator to properly preserve tender plants like basil, mint and parsley, you can easily AIR dry heartier, lower moisture herbs, such as: sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, summer savory, dill, bay leaves and marjoram.  So, not surprisingly, air dried herbs are our focus here…

What You Need to Air Dry Your Herbs

  • Fresh Cut Herbs
  • Thread, thin string or unwaxed dental floss
  • Brown Paper Bags
  • Spice Jars or airtight zip plastic bags

When to Harvest Your Herbs

Although not a MUST, the best time to cut herbs for drying is just before they flower. This is when the leaves have the most oil – and flavor.  Cut herbs when the leaves are dry – either late morning or early evening but not in the hot midday sun.

How to Cut ‘em

Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut large stems and branches.  Gentle shake to remove any insects.  Then, remove any damaged or diseased leaves.

Rinse & Dry

Rinse each branch and dry them well – removing all visible moisture.  Damp herbs tend to mold, which could destroy your entire harvest.

Bundle & Tie

Remove the lower leaves on each branch and tie 4-5 stems together using thread or unwaxed dental floss.

Paper Bag It!

Place the bunch upside down in a  brown paper bag.  Then gather the bag around the stems and tie it with string or floss. Cut several holes in the bag for ventilation.  Make sure that the bag is big enough so the leaves don’t touch the sides of the bag. –Label and date each bag!

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5 Responses to “Sage, Rosemary & Thyme”

  1. louie says:

    Ok, then how long do you let the bags dry ????

  2. Molly says:

    That’s what I was wondering also Louie. If the leaves aren’t supposed to touch the paper bag, how to you dry them?
    Are you supposed to hang from a clothesline in your home?

    I’m not the type to make as a gift, nor grow my own, however I would like a way to dry my own since I buy big bunches of fresh rosemary that I end up throwing out after a couple of stems are used. But I’m not about to start hanging clotheslines in my house.

  3. lak says:

    just a word re using dental floss: make sure it’s unwaxed or the area around the floss won’t dry properly and could, in fact, become moldy.

  4. brandi says:

    Sorry guys, I just bolded the 2 week time estimate in the article so it’s easier to catch. It takes about 12-16 days for the herbs to dry. I also added in the article, that your attic is a great place to dry herbs, but that’s not usually an option in the city. I’ve had great success hanging the bags from the curtain rod in my guest room/office in my apartment. -Thanks for the floss tip LAK. Good luck!

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