Drying herbs for tisane and other purposes

Healthy herbs, rooibos, honeybush, decaf tea, and yerba mate.

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Sep 7th 09 5:25 pm
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Drying herbs for tisane and other purposes

by skywarrior » Sep 7th 09 5:25 pm

I have an herb garden which includes chocolate mint, ginger mint, lemon balm, thyme, catnip and chamomile (among others). I was out of town at a conference and when I returned, my herbs looked not in the best shape and the next days are cool, so I figured I better start harvesting before they croak. I did a quick harvest of the mint, rinsed and now am drying them. I'll probably leave them in the colander to dry out and then put them in bags.

I've been harvesting chamomile and letting the buds dry on a plate before pulling the stems off and bagging them. I will try to take care of the basil, sage and lemon balm next.

:?: I've been wondering what you all do to dry your herbs (if you grow them) and how you use them in tisanes or flavor your teas.

Sep 9th 09 4:56 am
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Re: Drying herbs for tisane and other purposes

by Ebtoulson » Sep 9th 09 4:56 am

I do grow a few herbs (mint, thyme, basil) along with some fruit/vegetables (strawberries, tomatoes, onions, peppers). I use a cheap (less than 30 bucks) dehydrator I bough from walmart to dehydrate them. The only thing you need to worry about when using dehydrators is that it doesn't get too hot and actually cook what your trying to dry out. As far as relating this to teas I've used mint, strawberries, blueberries and peaches to flavor some teas before. I basically cut the strawberries and peaches into slices and then lay them out on the racks, but for the blueberries I actually freeze them then thaw them then put them in the dehydrator. I do this because it ruptures the cell walls making it easier to extract the juices when I brew it (some Good Eats knowledge..god I love that show). As far as brewing tea with it I always just throw the fruit or mint in the brewing vessel and pour boiling water on it until the temperature lowers enough for the tea. If I'm cold brewing I do that same thing but wait till the water is room temperature and then strain then add the tea leaves and let it sit there, I've read a lot of places that its not safe to cold brew herbals.

Sep 9th 09 8:01 pm
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Re: Drying herbs for tisane and other purposes

by Intuit » Sep 9th 09 8:01 pm

If you're located in the drylands of the West, you can use a simple drying rack in a wind-free protected location (garage, if there aren't petrol odor issues). I grew cooking herbs in container gardens and use paper sacks to dry them, hung up on a makeshift drying rack in my garage (or I did before relocating this summer).

Drying rack = el cheepo folding wood clothes drying racks that are near ubiquitous at large retailers.

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Sep 9th 09 10:52 pm
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Re: Drying herbs for tisane and other purposes

by depravitea » Sep 9th 09 10:52 pm

I've been growing/harvesting chocotate mint and a few other herbs all summer. After harvesting I typically hang them upside down to dry them. Once the leaves are dry I carefully remove them from the stem and store them in either a jar with a tight lid or a freezer bag. Once they're dry just throw a scoop in with your tea and steep it together. Sometimes I like a plain cup of mint tea, nothing else, so just put in some leaves and steep. My plants are doing well, so I only need about 4-6 leaves for a nice cup, I even get a re steep or two out of them.
You don't even need the leaves to be dry to make tea. Sometimes I'll just go over to my plant, pull off a few leaves, and toss them into my gaiwan. The mint sometimes leaves my mouth numb, kind pleasant actually.

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Sep 24th 09 4:38 pm
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Re: Drying herbs for tisane and other purposes

by AlexZorach » Sep 24th 09 4:38 pm

My family has been drying herbs for years. We collect the herbs on the stem, and place the herbs in brown paper bags, and hang them up in a warm dry place. In my current apartment, I have found the furnace closet to be ideal for this purpose.

It's important to dry the herbs thoroughly before storing them. If there is even a bit of moisture in them, and you later store them in an area with less air circulation, you will find the aroma breaks down and can even become unpleasant. On the other hand, once they are totally dried, you generally want them in a relatively airtight container to retain the aroma.

Recently I've tried other means of drying herbs. I was told by my family that sun-drying destroys some of the aromatic oils. But I have had success though by spreading leaves (no stems) on a sheet of paper in bright but indirect light in a warm, dry room.