As the summer is winding down, and many crops are having their last hurrah, it's time to harvest and preserve fresh herbs to use for the rest of the year. Simple and quick to do, but this task will add a lot of punch to your cooking later in the season.
Gather your herbs: Rosemary, sage, thyme, bay, oregano, marjoram, savory, tarragon, and lemon verbena are all good candidates for drying. The higher moisture content of the herb, the higher the chances of mold forming, so be more careful with basil, lemon balm and mints. Chives are best frozen. If you are picking your own herbs, harvest them mid-morning —once the morning dew has evaporated but before the midday sun wilts the leaves.
Wash the herbs. Clip herbs in large bunches, and rinse them thoroughly in water. Lay them out on towel towels to dry at room temperature or you can also spin dry in a salad spinner.
Hang herbs to dry. When they are dry, tie the stems into bouquets with butchers’ or bakers' twine and hang them in a cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation. Let hang for 5 to 10 days, until the herbs are dry and crispy.
Pick the leaves. Remove the leaves from the stems and store in glass jars with tightly fitting lids or corks until ready to use.