This year I am drying lemon balm, catnip, basil, calendula flowers, rosemary, rose petals, paprika and cayenne peppers.
The methods below are best for drying leaves. Whichever method you use, harvest your herbs in the morning to retain all the scent and flavor. Remove any spots, wilted leaves, bugs, etc. Strip the clean, dry leaves from the stems, and lay them in a single layer to dry.
After making dinner and turning off the oven, lay your herbs on a cookie sheet and leave it in the cooling oven overnight. By morning they'll be dry. Just wait until the oven cools off a bit before putting the cookie sheet inside; you don't want to cook your herbs.
Cut several stems off your plant (do not remove the leaves), tie the stems together with string, and hang in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place until dry. Small bundles work best, allowing air to circulate around each stalk.
Lay the clean, dry herbs on your dehydrator rack and dry at the lowest temperature possible.
Lay out the herbs on cookie sheets or in paper bags and put them in your vehicle on a sunny day. Added bonus: your car will smell heavenly.
I use this method a lot for small amounts, and it is the best way to dry small leaves such as thyme and oregano. For the small-leaved herbs, I lay the stems with leaves on a towel; for larger herbs I strip the leaves and lay them in a single layer in a flat-bottomed bowl or on a tray. Then just wait until they are dry. This can take several days.
When your herbs are dry, move them into containers with lids. Mason jars are ideal. Label and store in a dark, cool place. Don't crumble the leaves until you're ready to use; whole herbs keep better and longer than crushed herbs. Use your home-dried herbs within a year for the best quality.
You might also enjoy:
The New Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in June
The Herb Garden in July
The Herb Garden in August
The Herb Garden in Late September
Ten Ways to Use Basil
How to Dry Homegrown Herbs
DIY Cayenne Pepper Powder
Harvesting the Herb Garden
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a