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Rosemary is one of the best herb choices for drying. Learning how to dry fresh rosemary is simple and not only does it have a wonderful scent but it looses very little flavor when dried. One of the best herbs for aromatic aroma too.
It’s perfect and good for using in soups, stews and all those comfort foods we love. And summer time is the perfect time to grow, harvest and dry Rosemary.
It not only tastes great, but it is very aromatic as well. Rosemary has this wonderful earthy aromatic smell, which makes it a great natural decoration too.
What is Rosemary?
It’s a lovely & lush evergreen that is hardy from zone 8-10, but originated in the Mediterranean. It loves full sun, well drained sandy soil.
This herb doesn’t like it’s roots (feet) wet so make sure to grow it in a soil that drains well or is on a slope. Raised beds work well for growing Rosemary.
Rosemary grows well not only in an herb bed, but also in containers. It grows to about 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide. So just remember, the more room it has, the bigger it will get.
How to Harvest Rosemary
The time that Rosemary is harvested is important. It’s best harvested during spring and summer while it’s growing. Of course for culinary purposes, you can harvest it at anytime to toss in a stew or sprinkle over some pork chops.
But for drying purposes, it should be harvest first thing in the morning, right after the sun as dried the dew off before the heat of the day. Also, wait to just before flowering, this is when the herb’s oils are at their peak and it will taste and smell even better.
Can you use rosemary after if flowers? Yes, it’s not like Basil and Oregano that become bitter, Rosemary holds it’s flavor, but becomes a bit more “prickly” in texture. So no matter how long you cook it, it will still be a bit “sticky.”
- Using a pair of pruners…
- Look for stems that are about 8-9 inches long
- Take off the top 3-4 inches of each sprig and placing it in a bowl or basket.
- Leave about three-quarters of the sprig to give it enough time to recover before winter begins.
- Trim it several times a year to encourage growth
The latest time to trim Rosemary is about 2 weeks prior to first frost. When you cut off a sprig, it grows back rapidly so it doesn’t need a whole lot of time.
But don’t harvest after the stems have turned brown and flavorless.
4 Ways To Dry Fresh Rosemary
Of course before you dry it in any way, rosemary should be washed well. Just hold the springs under cold water and give it a good shake. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
Don’t allow it to lay damp for more than an hour or so. I like to start my drying process as soon as I’ve washed it.
1. Air Drying Fresh Rosemary
Drying fresh rosemary works best if all the sprigs are close in length.
- Lay up to 8 sprigs in a pile, all facing the same direction
- Use either a rubber band or cotton twine, (I use both) and secure sprigs together tightly
- Hang in a dark, dry area for 12-14 days
Some people like to place a brown paper bag over the sprigs to keep light and dust from hitting them. I don’t. I did this for a while, but found that I prefer to leave them uncovered. I hang mine in a closet with the door slightly open.
Time could vary from 2-3 weeks or more.
Once dry, label and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
There is totally nothing wrong with the method other than the time that it takes. I’m not a very patient person and when I’m doing something, I like to get it done and move on to the next task or chore.
But if you are in no hurry, it’s perfect and totally free.
2. How to Dry Fresh Rosemary in The Oven
This is one of my favorite ways to dry fresh rosemary. It’s quick and it’s simple.
- Preheat oven to 175° F or the lowest setting it has
- Pick leaves from the wood stem
- In a single layer, spread out on a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper – (don’t crowd it)
- Bake for 2-4 hours or until stems are brittle
Carefully remove it from the oven, allow it to cool completely. Remove leaves from stem and let it fall on the parchment paper.
Pick up the corners of the parchment paper to form a funnel, and pour dried rosemary into an airtight container, label and store.
3. Drying Fresh Rosemary in the Microwave
I’m not a fan of microwave drying rosemary, but I will tell you about it. My experience has not went so well with microwaving it. I thought about leaving it out, but you may be interested.
A couple of precautions before we talk about it: 1. Microwaves are very hot, so be careful not to scorch or cook it. 2. Rosemary should be completely dry! Otherwise, it will automatically cook rather than dry out.
- place no more than 4 sprigs single layer in the microwave between 2 paper towels
- Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes; remove to check to see if brittle and breaks – if not…
- Place back into microwave and cook for another 30 seconds…check it for brittle
- Continue this until stems are brittle and break easy
- Once done, remove from microwave, pull individual leaves off stems and store
4. How to Dehydrate Fresh Rosemary
Of the 4 ways to dry fresh rosemary, dehydrating rosemary is definitely my favorite. Really simple to do and not messy!
TIP: Dehydrator does need a temperature control on it. If you dehydrate it too hot too fast, it’s just like cooking it. It becomes more brittle and hard.
I use a Nesco F60 that works great for dehydrating all my food items. It runs for days and days and continues to work wonderfully. There are other types of dehydrators on the market like this Excalibur. It’s on my wish list.
Here’s the simple steps to dehydrating fresh rosemary:
- Place stems on trays in a single layer – (don’t crowd it)
- Fill up trays and set the temperature setting to 95°F
- Dehydrate for 24 hours
Check leaves to see if they fall off the stem easily. If so, they are done. Not- continue to dehydrate. When they are done, they will crumble off the stem easily.
If you live in a higher altitude, you may need to increase the temperature to 125°F to compensate for extra moisture.
How to Store Dried Rosemary
It’s important that fresh dried herbs be stored properly. They should be stored in airtight containers like these little apothecary jars for daily use.
But for long term storage, regular canning jars will do just fine. It’s also a good idea to put an oxygen absorber inside each jar. This will help to keep the moisture out of the jar.
Another great way to seal fresh rosemary and other herbs is to use a vacuum seal the lids with a Food Saver machine. I have this one and love it the way it works.
The main thing is, freshly dried rosemary, or herbs in general, need to be stored in air-tight containers. This is to keep moisture out and prevent mold.
So do you love the taste of fresh rosemary? It’s a really simple herb to grow and very easy to dry for sure. I didn’t realize how easy until I tried it. I don’t plan on buying rosemary from the baking isle in the grocery store ever again.
What about you? Do you plan to grow and dry your own fresh rosemary? I’d love to hear about it.
More Easy Preserving Tips
- Best Way to Freeze Broccoli
- 4 Ways to Dry Fresh Basil
- 5 Easy Ways to Freeze Fresh Basil
- How to Freeze Peppers