Herbology3: How to prepare vegetables and herbs for drying
Updated: Jan 28
Drying herbs and vegetable is common, but still, some people get it so very wrong. The most common technique for performing this activity is leaving them to dry in the exposure of sunlight. But is this the right thing to do? Why do we dry them in the first place? Is chop drying well? I will answer all these questions in this blog and educate you on some of the best drying techniques.
First thing first, why do we dry vegetables and herbs? The answer to this question is pretty simple. Moisture is friends with fungus; hence eliminating the same reduces the chances of infection. One way of dehumidifying your vegetables is by cutting them into small pieces and then sprinkling salt over them. Then preserve those cut pieces in an airtight container to prevent loss of nutrients. Cut vegetables loose nutrients readily. Other techniques are to dry them in sunlight, in the oven, or just hanging them upside down in a windy spot. Be aware not to leave them for drying under the midday sun; your veggies or herbs will lose important Vitamin-C. The morning sun will do just fine.
The best and natural way is to wash and clean the herbs and hang them upside down for a few days without exposure to direct sunlight and exposure to rain and dew. Just dangle them in a windy place. Nutrients in the herbs and vegetables are also best preserved this way. To sundry the herbs and vegetables, you can prepare some wire mesh tables for ventilation. Collect them in evening hours, and don't expose them overnight as dew or moisture may spoil the herbs. Do not overheat them either it will burn and do not dry for too long as mold will start to grow. If all this sounds too complicated to you, go for the veggie dehydrator. It is useful in the home for drying the veggies.
But there is a specific trick for dehydrating vegetables and herbs in this way. Dry them by alternate heating and cooling. Do not heat veggies for a longer time as it will be cooked, not dried, maintain the waving time of 30 secs and after that, take the plate out and let it cool at room temperature and after sometime reheat it repeat the process until the veggie becomes crispy.
You can also use a solar dryer, which can be built by making a cabinet and putting glass on top. Make some ventilation holes at the sides to let the moisture escape and prevent overheating. All these methods are useful when the day is too wet or too hot to dry the herbs.
In my next blog, I will teach you how to store your dried herbs properly. Until then, practice what you learned today.