How to Dry Herbs Indoors (+ How to Keep Cilantro Fresh For Weeks!)

With the seasons changing many of our garden herbs are coming to a end (except our Oregano which I’m pretty sure is going to grow forever).  Most herbs tend to love this time of the year but the weather tends to change quickly in mid to end October, so we always plan ahead in preserving our herbs before it’s too late.  One frost is all it takes to kill a lovely cilantro plant  – don’t let it happen to you.

Freezing and drying herbs in multiple ways makes your garden season last even when there is a foot of snow out on the ground.   Need some basil?  No problem.  Just dry it and crush it up – then you will have basil to last you forever.  Same goes for so many other herbs.   Also if you don’t have a garden, no worries. Maybe you’re at the farmers market or grocery store and you see a great sale on dill or parsley, grab it, dry it and you’ll have dried dill and parsley to last you the next year.  

How to dry herbs indoors. By doing this you can make your own dried oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme and more for recipes!

Here are some ways I use our herbs to make them last as long as possible.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a tricky herb to preserve, but hands down one of my favorites to cook with.  In my opinion dried cilantro loses its taste, but you can absolutely freeze cilantro in ice cube trays.  Just throw your cilantro in a food processor with some water to turn into a puree, then transfer to ice cube trays and freeze.  When you need some cilantro, just pop it out, defrost and use.  I often times use frozen cilantro in fresh salsa and it tastes great.  

If you’d like to keep your cilantro lasting longer in the freshness department, this is my suggestion on how to store it.  This technique keeps your cilantro fresh for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.   First, cut your cilantro stems down a little bit.  Then fill a glass jar with some water, insert cilantro. 
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Then put a plastic baggie on top and rubber band it to the jar so it’s secure.  Put into your refrigerator.  Replace your water as it turns brown.  Whenever you need some cilantro, just take out the jar and use accordingly.
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This is our cilantro after about 10 days, still looks pretty great to me!
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Mint: I love mint, I love everything about it, especially the smell!   Isn’t mint just one of the most heartiest prettiest herbs you’ve seen?
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I could just squeeze mint’s cheeks it’s so pretty!
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I enjoy mint mostly in drinks, either in cold drinks or a great natural herbal tea (post coming soon!).  I drink alot of water throughout the day, especially fizzy Seltzer water, but what makes it extra special is some mint with it.    To make mint ice cubes, just rip up your mint leaves and throw in a ice cube tray.  Then on top fill up with water.  Don’t be scared to really fill up these cubes with mint, use as much as you want.  
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Then when you grab a drink of water, pop out a mint ice cube and it freshens up your drink.   This is great in iced tea and lemonade as well.
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Dill and Basil:  These herbs work great dried so you can cook with them for a endless amount of time.  Before we had a garden I would buy dried herbs but not anymore.   Drying your own herbs is very economical, not to mention the taste will defeat the store bought bottles!
Dill: I love dried dill in soups, stews and rice dishes.  
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Dill is also up there on one of my favorite smelling herbs, it puts me in a good mood almost instantly.  Maybe I should invent a dill perfume!
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Basil is a staple in cooking, both fresh and dried.  It’s hands down one of the dried herbs I use most in cooking so I always have a few jars filled up in the kitchen full of it.  
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To dry your herbs, clean and let dry.   Then take a rubber band and tie them up in a place in your home.  The dryer the place in your home, the better, but in a loft space like I live in all my living area is pretty equal and I’ve found that herbs dry great pretty much anywhere.   Let your herbs dry for a few weeks, usually 3-4 weeks.  You will see your herb leaves start to turn crispy.  Once the entire bunch is crisp, then untie, remove leaves with a shake above a bowl and crush.  I do this the easy way by throwing in a food processor.  A few pulses later and you have dried herbs ready for cooking use.
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When you walk into our home the first thing you see hanging are herbs and onions.  Can we talk about how great your home is going to smell because of these herbs too?
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Dried herbs tend to be much stronger than fresh herbs. When substituting dried herbs for fresh herbs, use 1/3 the amount that the recipe calls for.  Store your dried herbs in jars. 
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Dried herbs made direct from your garden make an amazing holiday present.  Tie a little bow around a couple of glass jars and you will win the hearts of many!

 

48 Comments

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    • I dry rosemary the same way as the dill and basil – just hang up to dry and then remove the stems from leaves. Enjoy your dried rosemary!

  • Oh my gosh, thank you so much for telling me this trick about cilantro! While I usually use so much cilantro that I don’t have any left, I am sometimes left with some and i hate that i put it in the fridge and forget about it and it turns brown and gross. I’m doing this next time!!! The mint ice cubes are so so pretty. Do your kitties try to get at the hanging herbs? πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Amy! The kitties are so used to the hanging herbs now they don’t care at all. I think they think it’s a natural jungle in here. πŸ˜‰

  • Great tips for storing herbs, I usually put in water and stick in the fridge but never heard of the plastic bag and rubber band, Going to try that, you dry your herbs like I do roses, never tried that either, Learned a lot!

  • Thanks for the great tips! Cilantro is one of my fave herbs to cook with too. I bet your house smells so wonderful with all these dried herbs:) Great post, thanks for sharing Pamela!

  • I’m really happy to see this. I just started gardening, if you can even call it that. And I have a very small amount of basil so I don’t think there is enough to dry it. But I’m most definitely using your tip for cilantro and pinning this for next year, when my garden hopefully explodes a little!

  • This was SO helpful, I’m going to come back to this when I need tips for preserving herbs! Love the idea of freezing cilantro…why did I never think of that?!

  • This post is so informative. I needed that cilantro advice…I keep mine in the fridge and it is always dying!!

    I’m going to dry all my garden herbs in a dehydrator this weekend….we have so much basil and I don’t wanna lose it! πŸ™‚

  • I have got to start doing what you said with cilantro with parsley. I always wish I had parsley around but I don’t buy it often because I feel like I never get to it and it goes bad. Need to get my act together and put it in a jar like that. Being able to keep it for about two weeks would be awesome…

  • wooowiee!!! Cilantro and mint are my FAVVVVORITE herbs ever! I love the magenta-ish stalks of the mint leaves and they smell FANTASTIC! This post is sooooo helpful!!! Loveeee the tips you’ve given to preserve the cilantro! and to dry the other herbs! Bookmarking! πŸ™‚

  • I love freezing my herbs – especially cilantro! Cilantro is pretty expensive here in Buenos Aires and I don’t use all of it – so I just freeze them in ice cube trays just like freezing basil pesto! Thanks for sharing this tip – I have never tried this method before in the fridge!

  • Hey girl! Kudos to Matthew for the super cool post title! I totally do the same baggie trick with all of my fresh herbs, it totally keeps them fresh for weeks. I remember when I used to buy cilantro and store it in the crisper only to have it wilt after a day, what a waste. I love the mint ice-cube suggestion, as I’m a huge mint and love it in my water. It just adds a splash of flavor. Great tips girl! xoxo, Jackie

  • Thanks so much for sharing! I was having a hard time with my herbs and this soooo helps!!

    PS….you totally can get Dill as a perfume!! Young Living Essential Oils sells better than organic, pesticide free, purely unadulterated essential oils!
    I don’t sell but I do buy from them. If you are interested in saving 24% use my number for enroller/sponsor 1528284
    Have a Blessed Day

  • An amazing use for herbs after freezing in butter – melt the butter and use it to top popcorn. If you are a popcorn lover, this will rock your world. You can go all bougie with it and brown the butter for a couple of minutes in a little skillet, or pop it in the microwave to melt. Dash of sea salt and done.

    • Yeah! I love to freeze mine in a little bit of olive oil – perfect for adding straight into a pan or an Italian soup!

    • Hey Ramzi, washing herbs usually isn’t necessary if they are grown organically without chemicals. If you are spraying chemicals though, definitely wash!

  • REALLY EASY WAY TO DRY MINT & HERBS, PLUS START NEW ONES:
    This is so easy you will love it too. I trim off the tops of my herbs & mints that I have growing in pots. This is like 2″ to 4″. Mints really spread, so pots are best for them. Plus during cold weather you can bring them inside. Then carefully take off the bottom half of the leaves. I place them on a tray covered with paper towels. I have different areas named with the different flavors. I let them dry on there. In acouple days they are dried & can be put into a spice or whatever container you wish. If they are not completely dried, let them set another day. If they are not dried out, they could turn moldy. I use old pill bottles or canister cheese bottles are perfect as they have the holes on the lid. You can leave them whole and when I add them to food or drinks, I smash them up in my hands by rubbing my hands together or between my fingers. Brings out the scents. If I bought too much cilantro or parsley & I don’t want it to go bad; I will dry them the same way. Why waste them when you can keep them for another day. Putting them in the fridge is another way to make them last longer. Don’t let them get to the back where you can forget about them or they get too cold. Then again, if you think they are getting kinda ugly looking, dry them the same way. Or dry them the other ways listed on this site. My way just happens to be faster and easier.
    Then with the other part of the herb or mint, which is the stem with the top leaves. Put them in marked jars of water. Then place them in a sunny window. Keep the water level up towards the top of the leaves, so the roots don’t get dried up. Then once they have plenty of roots, in a wk or so, plant them in a pots. I have a couple long Dollar Tree planters in my kitchen windows. They also are sectioned off with markers, so I know what is growing where. I have done this the last few years and love doing it this way. Also love all the new plants I am starting.
    I grow & dry- Mints: Choc Mint, Sweet Mint (our favorite), Orange Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint. Herbs: Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary.
    NOTE: I can’t seem to root rosemary so I dry it or use it fresh.
    I hope you like the way I do it. Enjoy!
    Linda C from Colorado Springs, CO

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