Freeze Drying Herbs

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There are multiple ways to dry herbs. Dried herbs have been around for centuries as a way to preserve them. Drying them preserves the quality of herbs by reducing the moisture content, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms and chemical alterations during dried storage. Drying them is the best way to keep them longer due to the plants fast decomposition after being harvested.

Luckily, there are methods to drying herbs that can help to preserve their natural goodness. One option is to air dry the herbs. This involves a timely process of hanging them in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated temperature-controlled space until they have dried out completely. Another option is to use a dehydrator. This method is faster and more efficient, as it removes the moisture from the herbs in a matter of hours rather than days. Dehydrators use a low heat over a lengthy period of time to remove the moisture. Unfortunately adding too much heat in can damage and deplete the aroma, flavors and only reduces the water content to around 10-20% leaving too much water content can increase the changes of growth of microorganisms and spoilage.

The most efficient and effective way of drying herbs is freeze drying. According to an article posted by Taylor and Francis Group, Freeze Drying “Freeze drying has been suggested by several studies as a suitable drying method for preserving the fresh-like aroma of herbs due to its low operating temperature (Antal Citation2010). This drying process has been extensively reported to produce dried herbs with better aroma compared to other drying methods in many types of herbs.... Freeze drying showed better preservation of the yield and the chemical composition of the essential oil of purple and green basil leaves in comparison with sun drying, shade drying, hot-air drying at 40 and 60 °C, and microwave drying at 500 and 700 W (Pirbalouti, Mahdad, and Craker Citation2013)”.

Freeze drying herbs shortens the amount of wasted herbs and increases the long term of a single harvest. On a larger scale, this can create a better business model and save money and increase revenues in the long run. Overall, freeze-drying herbs is an excellent way to ensure that you always have high-quality herbs on hand, whether you are a home cook or a business owner.

No matter which method you choose, it's important to store your dried herbs properly to ensure that they remain fresh and flavorful. if you are air drying them, store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place, and use them within six months for optimal quality. If you do choose to freeze dry your herbs, they will last years unopened in airtight containers. With the right techniques, you can enjoy the delicious flavors and aromas of your favorite herbs all year round during cold weather and or during drought.

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