Andrew Carmellini, the award-winning chef at New York City’s Locanda Verde, used to cook at home with store-bought dried herbs.
“I think I went through six brands before I gave up,” he writes in his wonderful cookbook, Urban Italian. “I couldn’t believe how flavorless they were.”
Carmellini urges readers to purchase fresh local herbs and dry them at home, which protects flavor intensity. Home-dried herbs stored in sealed, airtight mason jars will last up to 6 months, he notes.
The easiest way to dry organic herbs is the method Carmellini favors:
- Lay them on a baking sheet, without overlapping them.
- Let the pan sit in your kitchen for 3–5 days, until herbs become brittle and gray-green.
- Remove the dried leaves by rubbing them off their branches.
If you’re an organic gardener, plant your favorite herbs outdoors (or in indoor containers). You can then dry them to keep your pantry well stocked.
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