How to dry rosemary at home
I love to grow rosemary; they are easy to grow, fill my porch with a lovely aroma and provide a fresh stock of herbs for my recipes. However, until recently I could enjoy them only in the summers, come winter I would have to go back to my good old store bought dry rosemary…well not any more for now I have discovered how to dry rosemary at home. If you feel drying rosemary is a time consuming cumbersome job, well you could not be more wrong, read on and you will realize how simple and easy this task is:
The first step to drying rosemary is obviously to pick them from the plant; for this snip off soft twigs of rosemary about 5” to 6” in length. Try and avoid already dried, over matured, bruised, or infested twigs. It is best to cut the rosemary in the late mornings or early noon, when the dew has all settled down, this way you will avoid cutting the rosemary when they are still wet. In case you don’t have a rosemary plant no need to fret, you can buy fresh rosemary from the grocery store and follow the latter steps.
Once you have cut enough rosemary, check each twig and remove any dry, withered, infested, or discolored leaves; make sure that you choose only the best of the lot for drying (no use trying to preserve something that has already gone bad). Now just swirl the twigs in a bowl of tap water to remove dirt and insects from the leaves and pat dry gently using a kitchen towel. Make sure that the leaves are completely dried for any excess moisture to lead to mold or fungal growth.
Now you will need several clean cotton strings. Using these tie 5 to 6 twigs together at the rear woody end, try knotting the twigs with a shoestring knot for this seems to keep the twigs more securely together. Now with the free ends of the cotton strings tie the rosemary bunches to a cloth hanger. Do not over crowd the hanger and remember to leave at least 1” gap between 2 bunches. Place the cloth hanger in a cool dark place and allow the rosemary to dry.
Take care that the rosemary leaves are not exposed to direct sunlight, for sun destroys the color and aroma of the leaves. Also the rosemary bunches tend to shrink once they start to dry, hence check on them every few days to ensure that they don’t fall off the hanger; tighten the shoestring if required.
It may take anything up to 3 or 4 weeks for the rosemary to dry. Wait till the leaves have completely dried, for any moisture or dampness will make the rosemary highly susceptible to mold and fungal growth. Rosemary leaves are completely dried if they come off easily from the stem and can be crushed easily by just rubbing them between fingers.
Now all that needs to be done is to remove the leaves from the stem and store your very own home dried rosemary in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Dried rosemary can stay up to 1 year.
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