Saturday, October 18, 2008

Preserving Herbs - Oregano

Oregano

When my girls were in elementary school, they always took their lunch to school. One of their favorite things was dried fruit snacks. They were so expensive though, so I had the brilliant idea to buy a dehydrator and make my own. I purchased a dehydrator bought a big bag of apples and spent hours peeling, coring and slicing the apples. After they were dried, I put them in a ziplock bag, feeling rather smug, thinking that it was a lot of work, but still I had lunch covered for a couple of weeks. I went off and did my housewifey things, came back about 20 minutes later and the girls had polished off all of the apples. Every last one! Seriously, hours of work gone in a blink of an eye. So, the dehydrator got shoved to the back of the cabinet until I could properly explain the concept of moderation.

Oregano

Finally, this week, I had a brief, but memorable epiphany. As I was describing to my husband the fancy screen system that I wanted him to build, that would allow me to dry my herbs on the back porch, I happened to remember that I had a dehydrator!

Dehydrator

It is so easy and simple, I can't believe I haven't been using it for this! I cut and washed the oregano and placed in on the drying racks. Stacked them up and turned it on. This dehydrator gets pretty warm and keeps a constant flow of warm/hot air blowing over the leaves. They were dry in about 90 minutes!!!

<Dried Oregano


WHB


This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Amy and Jonny at We Are Never Full

21 comments:

Paula said...

Ninety minutes? It only took 90 minutes?!!! You have the best kitchen gadgets. I have a bunch of oregano that I'd love to dry, and even looked into doing it, but your way is waaay better. Beautiful oregano, by the way. Loved the story about the apples!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

As my herbs are drying in the screen gizmo on my porch, I'm already thinking about how to justify buying a dehydrator! Great idea...

Pam said...

Paula - I was expecting it to take lots longer, but luckily I checked it.

Lydia - it really speeds up the drying process.

Natashya said...

I think the dehydrator works best on herbs too. Yours must be a higher wattage than mine though - mine takes a few hours for herbs.
I haven't tried dried apples yet but I found the dried tomatoes took a long time - maybe I just need a newer model!
I guess I will have to bring in what's left in the garden. It has been going down to about freezing the last couple of nights.
Tomorrow we are cleaning the furnace filters - winter is coming!

hip chick said...

I'm pretty sure you have inspired me to go buy a dehyrdrator. Yours looks small enough to be manageable. Now all I have to do is wait till next spring and grow some oregano. BTW, I used your trick about cutting and re-planting basil and it's working awesome. We still have basil indoors now because of the frost.

noble pig said...

How cool! I need that machine!

Kalyn said...

I have that very same one, and can you believe I've never dried any herbs? Need to try it, great idea.

Marjie said...

I could use a dehydrator. My boys have brought me baskets of apples in the last week. Apple bread, apple squares, apple waffles...

Grace said...

excellent use for a dehyrator--i've never considered it for this!

Katherine Aucoin said...

A dehydrator is one gadget I don't own. Your oregano is beautiful and I would love to try this since I'm afraid the weather is about to get the better of my herbs.

Prudy said...

What a beautiful blog you have! Your photos are just stunning. I sure wish I had some oregano to dry. I'll just have to grow some next year!

Peter M said...

My oregano's hanging in the basement since July...time to check on it!

Lo said...

I am so glad you vouched for this technique! I always wondered if that same dehydrator that does wonders with summer tomatoes would do nicely for herbs... and here's my answer!

I used to hang my herbs up to dry, but I love that they don't get dusty in the dehydrator!!

Pam said...

I need to get a dehydrator. I love the idea of drying my own herbs.

Jude said...

Wow.. makes me want a dehydrator myself. If only I had counter space left!

Psychgrad said...

So the big question - how do the quality of the herbs you dry compare to something you might purchase? Is it worth buying a dehydrator and going through the effort? I bought my mother a dehydrator about 3 years ago and I don't think she uses it anymore.

Pam said...

I think the herbs taste fresher, and they are certainly a lot cheaper. Can you just get your moms??

Psychgrad said...

I could perhaps steal hers...She lives in a different city. Unfortunately, my kitchen is maxed out at the moment in terms of storage. But, maybe I'll arrange for a herb dehydrating day some time next year.

Mr D said...

Thanks for this post. Confirmed that drying my (abundant!) oregano this way will work - now I just have to borrow my mother's dehydrator. She uses hers to dry feijoas, mmmmm.

Sammi said...

Can you pick and dry oregano after it has flowers? I saw a site that said to pick before flowering. Would love to know the answer to this!

Pam said...

Sammi - yes I've dried mine after it flowered. I saw Jamie Oliver using the dried leaves and flowers on a show and decided if he could do it, I could do it.