It’s the first day of summer, which makes it the perfect time to preserve herbs. Last night, I cut down my entire Oregano and Tarragon plants and placed them in the dehydrator. For the Oregano, I dried the entire stem intact so as not to waste time plucking off individual leaves. The Tarragon was about 3′ tall with 1/2″ thick stems. I removed those leaves by sliding my hand down the stalk so they would fit in the dehydrator.
I jam packed the dehydrator, stuffing it with handfuls and handfuls of herbs. I set it to run at 115F overnight. This morning the herbs were crispy dry. Two layers of Oregano on the top and Tarragon on the bottom trays.
After folding closed the top of the bag, I bashed the contents with my rolling pin until it flattened out enough to roll.
Within a few short minutes, the stems were easy to removed from the bag, leaving behind the dried leaves. To further sift the stems away from the leaves, I used a cooling rack over a large bowl. By gently rubbing handfuls of Oregano over the meshed cooling rack, I removed the majority of stalk.
At the end, I rubbed the leaves between my two hands crushing them to the consistency that I desired and plucked out the last remaining twig bits.
Dried Oregano will last a year or two in an air tight container. I use this versatile herb in bbq rubs, tomato sauces, on pizza and in my Greek seasoning blend.
The dried Tarragon headed into the paper bag next. I bashed and rolled the pin over the closed bag until it was flatter and made less crunching sounds. I prefer small particles of Tarragon so I used a fine mesh sieve to accomplish that. I swirled my hand in the sieve forcing the leaves to breakdown and sift through.
To pour the crushed herb from the large bowl into a narrow-mouth jar is difficult, so I just dumped it back into the paper bag. Using the paper as a funnel, the Tarragon flowed into the storage jar quickly and easily.
I use Tarragon in my poultry seasoning blend, salad dressings, and Bearnaise sauce. I’ve also got some steeping in vinegar which is a classic in French cuisine. I’ve labelled the jars of dried herbs and am storing them away from direct sunlight.