My basil was getting away from me, and the spearmint has been a monster from the beginning of the season. Drying herbs seemed simple enough, but I consulted a few other garden blogs to brain storm. Here is what I settled with.
The best time to harvest herbs is right before they flower. Not only will you see the buds forming, but the leaves will appear more oily with deepened colour. This will give the dried herbs more flavour.
I harvested about half of the basil in the garden. I cut down majority of each plant, leaving the last row of leaves, incase it decides to make an end-of-season comeback.
I washed the spearmint and basil with cool hose water. Using about 2 paper towels for each bundle (4 total) I semi-dried the leaves. I then spread them on baking sheets to sit in the sun for the remainder of the afternoon. Although hang drying does just that (dry them), sun-drying beforehand helps to maintain quality and prevent musk or mould.
Hang somewhere with good air flow indoors. I chose to make my own herb drying rack to hang from an existing hook in the corner of our living room, beside a window. I had extra wire fencing from earlier this summer when I built the fence for my garden plot.
Hopefully I will have flavourful, organic dried herbs, preferably without creating a mess in the living room. We will see.
How do you dry your herbs? I always love new ideas.