I have gotten a lot of questions about the herbs I sell and I realize more and more how few people grow their own herbs, let alone dry them. Just like a fresh fruit picked off a tree, a freshly dried herb has a much better taste than the herbs you find bottled in a grocery store. I dry so many of the different varieties of herbs I grow -- oregano, tarragon, and dill are almost always in my pantry and ready to use.
I used to dry my herbs in the woodshop and kids' playhouse at my home. I never thought much about my drying practices until an encounter a few years ago during a campaigning season for a local election. Where I live, folks still campaign by visiting door-to-door. One fall, a campaigner stopped by my house to ask to put a sign outside of my house. He stayed for a chat, and to talk to him I stood with my back to an exceptionally large crop of harvested basil hanging to dry. To save space, I had tied it in tiers with basil cascading down to the floor. The man kept shifting his glance over my shoulder and at the time I was annoyed that he could not hold eye-contact with me.
After talking for a while, he left without asking me what I was doing. When I turned back around to my work, it hit me what may have been on his mind. All of my herbs were in various stages of drying next to screens and shelves full of many differently-sized greens. It didn't help that I also had little ziplock bags filled with my previously dried harvest.
To the untrained eye, I can imagine how my herbs could appear to be something else. Nothing ever came from that interaction, and I am happy I did not have to explain myself to inquiring authorities if he had told someone about my setup. I wonder what the sentence would be for drying culinary herbs? To this day, I giggle each time I hang my basil to dry.
Now a funny memory, I hope this little story inspires some of you to try out drying herbs for yourself. The results are well worth your effort, even if you encounter some curious visitors in the meantime!
In Good Health,