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Dry bunches of herbs to use through winter19 August 2014
Dry bunches of herbs to use through winter so you make the most of the summer's plenty and enjoy home-grown herbs even through the coldest months of the year.
Most shrubby herbs dry readily to preserve the essential oils that make them so fragrant and flavoursome to use in your cooking. Rosemary, bay, thyme, lavender, marjoram and sage are all easily stored in this way.
Try to cut your herbs early in the morning, while those essential oils are at their strongest. Take the longest, healthiest stems on the plant, discarding any dead or diseased material.
Herbs with shorter stalks, such as marjoram and thyme, are dried flat. Lay them on a tray lined with kitchen paper and place in the airing cupboard. Turn frequently and they should dry in a couple of days. Alternatively microwave them on a low setting until leaves turn dry but still have some 'give': if they're crispy, you've lost the flavour. Store somewhere cool and dark in airtight jars.
Cut rosemary, bay and lavender shoots up to 20cm long and tie them together in bundles to hang upside down somewhere cool with good air flow (an unheated corridor with a through draught is ideal), and they'll keep for many months.