This spring I started planting herbs like a mad woman. There’s something harmonious about clipping fresh herbs while preparing a meal. My dream would be to walk outside and gather a few vegetables to serve with dinner but with our mostly shady yard, a vegetable garden isn’t going to happen. Fortunately the back deck gets lots of sun and it’s close enough to the kitchen that my overflowing pots feel like a kitchen herb garden. I get so much joy watering them, watching them grow and pinching off their flavorful tips to use in recipes.
But apparently we don’t cook enough in the summer because I can’t keep up with the growth on my plants! I found myself trimming the tops of the herbs and throwing out those fragrant trimmed pieces…what a waste!
The other day I thought, why not try my hand at drying them!? I love the idea of cooking red sauce on a chilly October afternoon and reaching for dried basil and oregano from my summer stash. And honestly, I’m really loving the little bundles of herbs hanging in my kitchen right now…
Mike had this interesting piece of live-edge maple in his shop that I thought would be perfect for a drying rack!
And on a recent trip to Hobby Lobby I found these adorable barnyard friends!
This project is almost too easy…wanna see!?
Here’s What You Need
*Wood (Any piece of wood will do but if you have a lumber supplier nearby, they often have beautiful pieces of live-edge wood …which is really fun for this project!)
*Knobs-the number depends on how big your dryer will be- (barnyard animals are optional of course!)
*Americana Decor Wax in Golden Brown (Instead of stain, I used the wax to bring out the grain in the wood and give it a beautiful finish)
Here’s What You Do
*Sand your wood. I like for wood projects to have smooth- rounded edges. To me that makes them look old and worn.
I decided to try the Americana Decor Wax instead of stain because I wanted to buff the wood into a soft shine. (This wax us normally used as a finish to Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint)
To use the wax: paint it on and then with a cotton rag, wipe off the excess…it really brings out the beautiful grain…
Using a drill, I made holes and then screwed in the knobs. (I left the knobs about 1/2″ raised so I had plenty of room to hang the herbs) Also: I painted over 3 plain brown knobs with Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in Serene and then wiped off a bit just to lighten them up!
After adding all my knobs, I drilled 2 holes in the back for hanging. (careful not to go all the way through of course!) I took a few photos out on my potting bench because the light was good- I won’t be leaving this outside
Although the live edge of the board is still really rustic, it is sanded mostly smooth and the wax makes those imperfections all the more beautiful…
From what I understand, Rosemary, thyme, bay, oregano, marjoram, sage, tarragon and lemon verbena, are all good candidates for drying. I read that basil wasn’t a great candidate for air drying but it’s one of my favorite herbs and I’ll be drying bunches of it!
To dry herbs:
Simply trim your plant, rinse and pat dry.
Tie in bundles and hand in a dry place. (Supposedly the darker the room the more color the leaves will keep)
The herbs will be dried out within a few days (some take over a week)-you’ll know they are dry when the leaves crumble easily…
When dry, strip the leaves off the stem-but leave the leaves whole- this helps them to retain their essential oils…store in airtight containers.
(In your recipes, use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs in place of 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs)
The dried herbs should retain their flavor for 6-12 months…
All the info on drying herbs is from my online research…this is my first time doing this so I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Have a flavorful day my friends ~ xo
This post is part of My Year in Reckless Crafting
For this project I used Knobs (I’ve never crafted w/ knobs before!) & Americana Decor Chalky Finish Wax (I used the wax in a new way in this project!)
Linking up with Something to Talk About!