Meagan Francis

Meagan Francis

Common Sage is Ornamental with Many Herbal Uses
Sage is a low-moisture herb that works well with the air-drying method

If your herb plants are producing too quickly for you to keep up with the fresh harvest, you’ve got another option than watching them wither on the vine: dry them! Air-drying herbs is easy and inexpensive, but you can also dry herbs in a food dehydrator or right in your oven.

Watch this tutorial on growing and buying common herbs.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Decide on a method. Air-drying works best for low-moisture herbs like marjoram, oregano, rosemary and dill. Herbs like basil, chives and mint contain more moisture and it’s best to dry them in a dehydrator or oven.
  • Harvest. For the most flavor, cut herbs in mid-morning, right after the morning dew has dried.  Cut healthy herbs, removing any sickly, dried or wilted leaves and brushing away insects. If you must rinse the herbs, pat dry carefully afterward.

To Air-Dry:


  1. Gather 5-10 branches together and tie with string or a rubber band. The smaller the bundle, the easier and faster they will dry.
  2. Put the bundle of herbs, stem-side up, in a paper bag. Tie the end of the bag closed, being sure not to crush the herbs as you do, and poke a few holes in the bag for ventilation.
  3. Hang the bag by the stem end in a warm, well-ventilated room.

Your herbs may be dried and ready to store in as little as one week.

To Oven-Dry:

  1. Place herb leaves or seeds on a cookie sheet one inch deep or less.
  2. Put herbs in an open oven on low heat – less than 180 degrees F – for 2-4 hours. To see if the herbs are dry, check if leaves crumble easily. Oven-dried herbs will cook a little, removing some of the potency and flavor, so you may need to use a little more of them in cooking.

A Guide to Herbs 12 photos

With both methods, you’ll know the herbs are dry when leaves crumble easily. Store in labeled, dated airtight containers like canning jars, plastic storage containers or freezer storage bags. For best flavor, keep the leaves whole until you are ready to use them, then crush. Dried herbs are best used within a year.

4 Comments About this Article

  • Susan Grace
    What is the purpose of the paper bag? I've been told not to use one if air flow is an issue, but I'm not sure what the benefit is. Thanks!

    Posted 1 year ago

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  • Sue Geney Bynum
    In my house the paper bag would serve as a dust and pet hair barrier. Thngs are floating in the air in a busy home and some pet hair flys around no matter how well we vacuum and dust. I think this would help eliminate that type of contamination. I intend to try it. Thanks!

    Posted 1 year ago

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  • Andrea L Lincoln
    The purpose of the paper bag is to catch any falling leaves as the herbs dry.

    Posted 1 year ago

    Flag this Comment
  • Susan Grace
    Thanks so much!!

    Posted 1 year ago

    Flag this Comment

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