5 Easy Tips For Storing Dried Herbs
By properly storing your dried herbs, you'll be able to take full advantage of numerous health and culinary benefits. For thousands of years, ancient cultures from Indonesia to Greece have used dried herbs as an integral part of various wellness customs.
- Make sure your herbs are dry before storing them
- Keep oxygen from reaching your herbs by storing them in airtight containers
- Avoid putting your stored herbs in direct sunlight
- Use whole herbs so that they last longer
- Don't forget to label your containers!
If you want to maintain the amazing potency your herbs have, you should know exactly how to prolong their shelf life. From herbal teas to infused oils, dried herbs are a must if you're looking to live your life in a healthy and natural way.
Keep reading, and we'll share five tips for storing dried herbs so that you can keep them fresh for as long as possible.
#1. Store Dried Herbs When They're Totally Dry
Herbs are a great way to bring flavor into your favorite dishes or improve a hot cup of tea. However, knowing the right way to store your dried herbs is critical if you want them to maintain their potency, taste, and power.
Making sure your herbs are stored properly can be a somewhat challenging task. There are many things to keep in mind so that you can ensure your dried herbs stay as good as possible for as long as possible.
Keep Your Dried Herbs Away From Moisture
For starters, you must always ensure you store herbs when they are completely dry. Whether you're harvesting garden herbs from your yard or wildcrafting, you need to always dry them first.
Be sure there is no moisture remaining in your herbs before storing them. If you're air-drying herbs, you can either hang dry them, use a dehydrator, or use a drying screen.
Ensuring your fresh herbs are properly dried is the first step to prolonging their life and potency.
How Long Do Dried Herbs Stay Good?
Different dried herbs will have different shelf lives. Ground spices like cinnamon and ground pepper typically stay flavorful for at least one to three years, while green herbs like oregano or basil can stay fresh anywhere from half a year to three years.
The amount of time your dried herbs stay fresh depends on how well you store them. That's why it's so important to ensure proper storage!
What Can You Use Dried Herbs For?
Dried herbs can be used for almost anything. Most commonly, they can be used to add flavor and spice to foods like soups or stews, smoked or barbequed meats, and other dishes.
Dried herbs have some powerful healing and medicinal properties that have been used across the globe for centuries.
An Ancient Tradition That Has Stood The Test Of Time
In the ancient Indonesian wellness custom of Jamu, dried herbs and spices were used in everything from culinary dishes to healing tonics.
The Jamu lifestyle is all about using natural methods and elements to promote holistic wellness and self-healing. From utilizing fresh or dry herbs to essential oils, there are many ways to indulge in this timeless yet prevalent way of living.
#2. Store In Airtight Containers
Dried herbs have a few enemies that can shorten their shelf lives. Moisture is one such foe, and it's important to maintain a low-humidity atmosphere for your herbs.
However, another major enemy is oxygen. While breathing fresh air might be important for your own health, it can end up degrading your herbs and leeching their flavor.
Finding The Right Storage Method
To store dried or fresh herbs properly, you must use containers that are airtight. Glass jars with sealing lids are best because they keep out both oxygen and moisture.
Though paper bags are often used to dry herbs, they shouldn't be used for long-term storage. After your herbs are completely dry, transfer them to a metal, plastic, or glass airtight container. Refrain from utilizing plastic bags if possible!
#3. Keep Your Herbs Out Of Direct Sunlight
Next up on our list of enemies of dried herbs is sunlight. Light tends to erode away the flavor and even color of your dried herbs, rendering them almost useless.
Store dried herbs in a dark place out of direct sunlight. You can either use dark-colored glass jars or can just keep your herbs in a closed cabinet or pantry.
#4. Use Whole Herbs So They Last Longer
The key to storing dried herbs the right way often comes down to combating their enemies. It's important to reduce the amount of oxygen, sunlight, moisture, and heat that your herbs are exposed to, but that's not all that goes into this tedious process.
Storing Herbs Properly From The Inside Out
The goal of storing your dried herbs is to ensure they can stay good for as long as possible. And keeping them in their whole form can ensure they last longer!
It's often best to store herbs whole and then grind or chop them as needed. Though sometimes you have no choice but to store chopped herbs, it's a good rule of thumb to store dried herbs in the biggest form you can.
#5. Don't Forget To Label Your Containers
Here's a tip that many people tend to overlook. If you want to ensure you store your herbs the right way, be sure to label your containers!
It's important to keep track of how old your herbs really are. Even if you think you'll keep this information safely tucked in your memory, you're more likely than not to forget.
How To Label Your Containers Properly
Here's some standard info you should include on all of your storage containers:
- Herb name
- Harvest date (if known)
- Purchase date (if applicable)
- Date to be discarded
As we said, different herbs will have a different lengths of shelf life and might not last the same length of time as others. It's important to be aware of what you have and how long they'll stay good for!
The best way to ensure your herbs stay good for as long as possible is to properly store them. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to indulge in your favorite herbal remedies without worry!
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