Harvesting & Drying Homegrown Herbs

Growing herbs at home can mean very bountiful harvests when in peak season, but how on earth do you use all of that freshness so quickly? Fresh herbs add colour and wonderfully fresh flavour to your home cooking, but when you want to make the most of your full harvest throughout the year, why not consider drying your herbs?

Drying herbs allows you to enjoy them long after they are out of season, or when your harvest has ended.

Our friends over at Mudbrick Herb Cottage gave us their tips on harvesting, drying and storing your fresh herbs.

- Harvesting -


Mid-morning is the ideal time to harvest your herbs, once the dew has lifted but just before the heat of the day sets in. It’s the oils within the herb that really create the aromas and flavours we know and love, and at this time of day, those oils are at their peak.

It’s not just the time of day that matters when harvesting herbs though, it’s also the timing within their growing season, and this comes down to the parts of the herb you’ll be storing.

  • Pick flowers after most of the flowers have bloomed and opened.
  • Collect seeds when the majority of seeds are ripe
  • Cut leaves from the bush before it goes to flower. Cut leaves back on the stems around a third, this promotes fresh growth for an extended harvest.

- Drying -


They key to successfully drying your herbs at home is the continuous circulation of warm and dry air. Start by selecting a suitable location in your home, out of the sun or any strong light and moisture.

There are two standard ways of drying herbs:

  1. Open Trays – line the surface of your tray with a natural fabric or tissue paper and spread your herbs in a single layer over the tray (allowing for consistent airflow). Turning leaves daily will assist in even drying.
  2. Hanging bunches – using string or a small rubber band, secure a bunch of around 4-6 stems of the same herb together. Hang your bunch up with more string secured around the tie, where the air can circulate freely around the bunch.

Using these methods can have your herbs dry in as little as 3 days through to 2 weeks, depending on the herb type. Herbs are ready for storage when leave crunch easily between your fingers.

If you’re looking for a quicker way to dry herbs, you can also dry them using a dehydrator or oven.

- Storing -


Store your dried herbs in a glass jar with a firm, fitted lid and keep in a cool, dark location. It’s also recommended to store leaves whole and crush/powder them as you plan to use them.

Originally post and adapted with permission from Mudbrick Herb Cottage.

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