IN THE COOL OF THE DAY, just as the sun was peeking over the tree tops and the morning’s dew had dried, I cut bunches of sage (berggarten & golden), oregano, thyme, and some of the first lavender to bloom, for drying. As far as timing goes most of the herbs have not yet bloomed and I was right on the money in picking on Wednesday–yesterday we had rain!
For large quantities I prefer to hang in small bunches until dry. I have tried the microwave method but think that there is a loss of potency and the leaves seem a little more crispy.
After cleaning and removing dead stems, leaves, etc. I made small bunches, tied them with string and hung them to dry in my laundry room. It’s the buffer between the main part of the house and the garage; it remains cool, dark and has good air circulation with some occasional warmth from the dryer. Bunches of lemon balm were well dried in about five days.
After drying I gently strip leaves from stems and lightly crush/crumble them and store in jars. Since I cannot possibly grow every herb and spice I like to use, some have to be purchased; I save the emptied jars, remove the labels and use again for my own storage.
I made sure to leave some stalks to flower for the honeybees. Someone around here is bound to have some nice herbal honey. And a little later in the summer will have a second crop to use.