Herb is basically a seed plant that, unlike trees, does not produce a woody stem, though it lives longer to develop flowers and seeds. Herbs can be categorized into three broad divisions - annuals that bloom for only one season, biennials that live for two seasons and perennials that, when established over-winter, bloom each season. When it comes to picking herbs, you need to know the right technique, as it would help you in attaining the best quality. The right picking technique is also very important for drying the herbs, as it would allow you to harvest them properly and enjoy them even months after their growing season is over. In the following lines, we have provided information on how to pick herbs for drying, just for you.
- Small Pruning Shears
- Paper Towel (optional)
- It is advisable to pick those herbs that have low moisture content in them. This is because these herbs dry quickly and have low chances of mold growth. Some such herbs are thyme, dill, bay, marjoram, oregano, summer savory and rosemary.
- While picking herbs, look for the leaves that have started uncurling. These leaves are fit for harvesting.
- As for the exact time of harvest, it should be done after the morning dew evaporates, but before the leaves starts wilting in hot sun. This would help you dry the herbs well, while keeping the flavor intact.
- While plucking the herbs, make sure you cut a few inches off their tops. There should be at least 4 inches of the stem left on annual herbs and about 2/3rd of the stem left on perennial herbs.
- In case the leaves have dirt accumulated over them, remove it as soon as possible, after picking.
- For leaves that have moisture in them, in the form of dew drops, you can use a paper towel and gently blot them. This will help remove moisture.
- After picking the herbs, sort the leaves that you have picked. While the smaller-leaved herbs are dried on the stem, the larger-leaved herbs are pulled off the stem. Make sure that you dry only the healthy leaves and discard the rest.