Drying Herbs

In my post in 2009 about drying herbs I mentioned you could quickly dry herbs with fans, and in fact air movement is important to prevent mold, but that slow drying often brings out the full flavor.  I want to expand on this, due to an E-mail I got from a reader.  He suggested that the slower the herbs dry, the better for the flavor.  He recommended putting the herbs in a Tupperware container after 2-3 days with the lid on but NOT sealed.  Open the lid in a couple hours, if the herbs seem wetter, keep the lid off.  After a day or two, put the Tupperware lid on tight on one corner (always make sure the herbs feel dry when doing this, if they feel wet, you will have mold).  Open the lid a couple times a day and feel the herbs.  When they are completely dry (I keep a stem in with them and when it snaps easily, and does not bend, the herbs are dry) seal the lid and store the herbs
Read my post on Herb Storage
 I concur with this slow drying.  In fact, even though plants are technically dead when you cut them, there are physiological reactions for many hours, and chemical reactions for days.  Once the water content becomes very low, most chemical reactions and all biological ones will stop.  By slow drying, you allow for the molecules in the plant cells to interact completely.  Now, the fun thing for me about biology is that there are always exceptions.  So, some plants you might want to dry quicker than others.  The best way to test this is with a scientific experiment.  Have two or more types of drying techniques with not just the same herb, but the same plant.  
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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