RE: [gardeners] Putting it by

George Shirley (
Mon, 29 Jun 1998 16:02:55

At 02:02 PM 6/29/98 -0400, you wrote:
>On the topic of drying herbs... Have you ever just put them in the oven
>to dry?  I am planning on drying a whole heap of oregano and purple
>basil this year to give as Christmas gifts (thanks, George - it was you
>last year that gave me this idea), but I don't have a dehydrator. I was
>thinking I could just lay them on a cookie sheet, turn the oven (gas) on
>as low as it will go and leave them over night.  Is that a bad idea?  I
>want to make sure they retain as much flavor as possible (of course).

Does your oven have a pilot light? If so it may be warm enough without
turning the gas on. You can successfully dry herbs in a 150 F oven but it
takes a while. Alternatively you can go to Walmart and spend a few bucks
for a dehydrator. Get one with a fan but, IMHO, a thermostat isn't
necessary. Once you do you're set for many years of dehydrating. You can
also hang them in a dark, dry place (attic or storeroom) to dry then strip
the leaves from the stalks.

>Also, have you ever dried tomatos?  I've got 6 yellow pear tomato plants
>that are just starting to bloom and I was wondering if I could dry them,
>too.  I've frozen roma tomatos in the past, but this is the first year
>I've grown the yellow pear, and I'd like to try something different.

The yellow pears also freeze well. I wash them and allow to air dry, pack
in quart bags and throw them in the freezer. When they are allowed to thaw
completely the skins slip right off. You can split them and dry them either
in the sun, the oven, or a dehydrator.

>Alice in London, Ohio (zone 5b) where it looks like it's going to storm
>again tonite.