Preserving the Harvest: Drying Herbs and Greens

Preserving the harvest is a great way to get more out of your garden! A few weeks ago, I harvested a ton of herbs and greens that were not being used in the garden.  I wanted to find a way to save them to use throughout the year when there are not as many wonderful things to eat from the garden.

I used some of the basil to make a nut free version of Pesto, and the kids and I used some of it to make some yummy kale chips.  But I still had bunches of herbs and greens to use, so I decided to dehydrate them.  Dehydrated foods take up less space for storage, lose very little nutritional value, and are easy to store without the use of electricity.

First, I took the mountains of kale, spinach, and swiss chard and washed and spun it dry.  Dry greens take less time to dehydrate.  You can dehydrate in your oven, but I like the dehydrator because it uses less electricity and doesn’t heat up the house as much.  The mix of greens dehydrated in just a few hours.


While that was dehydrating, I washed and spun dry all of my herbs.  I decided to dry the herbs in paper sacks to save even more electricity and heat in the house.  Herbs dry great like this.  I am going to mix the dried herbs and make my own Italian seasoning mix to use throughout the year and give as Christmas gifts.

Bunch a handful of herbs in your hand and tie and set them in a paper bag that you have previously cut slits in.

Bunch a handful of herbs in your hand and tie and set them in a paper bag that you have previously cut slits in.

drying herbs in paper bags

Then bunch up the end of the bag, making sure to grab the ends of the herbs and tie a string around it.

Then bunch up the end of the bag, making sure to grab the ends of the herbs and tie a string around it.

 

Tie a loop on the end of your string for hanging.

Tie a loop on the end of your string for hanging.

 

Hang up for a couple of weeks and the herbs will be crisp and ready to crunch with your fingers and place in airtight jars for storage.

Later in the day all of my greens were dry. 

I placed them in a large paper bag and squished them so they would begin to break apart. This is such an easy way of preserving what you have.

dried greens

Then I put a few handfuls in my blending making sure it was totally dry inside. I blended for a minute or so and I had dry green powder.

Then I put a few handfuls in my blending making sure it was totally dry inside. I blended for a minute or so and I had dry green powder.

greens

I stored it in an airtight jar and have been sprinkling it in many dishes that I cook for the kids or my husband and I.  It’s a great nutrition supplement for meals you are serving to picky eaters.  I feel good about boosting the nutrients in their food as well as not letting my excess greens go to waste.  I love preserving things that I can’t use right at the time they are ready. I feel like a superstar of avoiding waste. Also, I know we can use that nutrition when the garden season is over.

What are some ways you preserve the harvest?

Don’t forget to pin for later.

Preserving the Harvest- Drying Herbs and Greens

14 comments

  1. Mary Wilber says:

    Hi,

    I started an herb garden this year and thank you for this information. I want to do this and am excited to see the ending product when it is done. I look forward to using my own home grown herbs this Fall and Winter!

  2. donna gilleland says:

    great idea for green smoothies

  3. Corinne Carr says:

    Thank You, I am glad I stumbled along on your blog. This is exactly something I was looking for. I want to learn more about herbs and how to store them this so helpful. Thanks

  4. musa juma says:

    Thanks a lot , this is the best way of preserving food mostly the nutrients.

  5. Karen says:

    This is a great way to preserve the harvest! I have never considered drying greens, but it seems like a great way to add some nutritional punch to lots of food during the winter.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Anne Marie says:

    Thank you for the ideas and step-by-step tutorial. Dried herbs are so expensive and these are basically free. I’ve never had dried greens, but I would love to sneak more spinach and any kale at all into my daughter’s diet.

  7. Mike the Gardener says:

    Very cool tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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