I don’t know if you have noticed but herbs have become very expensive.  If you use herbs to flavor your food, you might want to consider growing them. Growing your own herbs can be cost effective because you will have large quantities of herbs that you dry and you can save a ton of money because you will not have to spend money buying them. Growing your own herbs is not only cost effective but it is also lots of fun and you can get your kids involved.

One of the benefits of growing your own herbs is that you will have fresh herbs that you can use and you have some left over than you can dry not to mention that they will beat what you buy in the store. Growing herbs requires a sunny area so if you living somewhere where it is warm year round and the soil is conducive to growing; you might want to consider growing your own herbs.  On the other hand, if you live in a seasonal state or country, you can grow herbs indoors as long as you have a sunny area. You can start by selecting the herbs that you use to prepare your dishes and use planters to grow them.

Herbs are no different from any other plant, so you treat them accordingly by pruning them and cutting them back so that they produce a larger plant. If you are growing herbs like basil, thyme, oregano or even rosemary, they will flourish when you cut them back. As a matter of fact, herbs grow so fast that you might have more than you need which you might want to share with your friends or family. Or, you can dry the extra herbs so that you won’t have to spend money buying dry herbs from the store. The only difference between fresh and dry herbs is that when you dry them, they lose their moisture but not the flavor.  The fact is that dry herbs have the full flavor of fresh herbs.  Since dry herbs last for months, you can keep them or share them with your neighbors.

Here are the things you need to dry your herbs:

Drying racks
Cooling racks – you can use the racks that you use to cool your cookies
Colander
Cheesecloth
Paper towels
String

The first thing that you will do is to wash your herbs thoroughly in cold water. You will be using the colander for this purpose. Pat each leaf dry with the paper towels to remove all moisture.

There are many ways to dry herbs: If you only intend to dry the herbs, you will have to remove the stalks before drying them. The type of rack you will be using is dependent on the leaf size.  So, you will either be using a wire rack or a cooling rack that you have around the house.

Another way to dry herbs is by bunching them.  So, you will bunch them up, tie a string around the stems and hang them upside down to dry. If you have a well-ventilated area, either indoors or outdoors, you can do this if the area is not humid. If the area is humid, your herbs will not dry because the air will be full of moisture. You will be using the cheesecloth to cover your herbs if you are drying them outside on a cooling rack.

Another method of drying herbs is by using the oven. If you are using the oven to dry your herbs, you need to set the oven at 120 degrees. However, you need to check the herbs every half hour. The microwave oven is another method that you can use to dry your herbs but this method requires a great deal of care otherwise your herbs will shrivel.  You can also use a dehydrator to dry your herbs, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Dried herbs will be full of flavor for six months and they lose some of there flavor after this time.  Use Mason jars or plastic containers to store your herbs but you should label them otherwise you will not be able to tell the difference. Your herbs will grow mold if you don’t store them properly so seal them in an airtight container.

Herbs are a great way to season your food and give it a great flavor. So, growing and drying your own herbs will allow you to savor the flavor and not to mention all the money you will be saving by drying your own home grown herbs.

If you are looking for ways on how to be frugal, this is one of them.