Herbs & Spices

Don’t forget to include herbs and spices in your dehydrating endeavors.  Most herbs are among the Easiest of the Easy to dry. 
They take bland food and turn it into a culinary feast. If you learn about the different kinds of herbs your family likes, you will look like a culinary genius when you use them.

Being the ultimate opportunist, I am always on the lookout for bargains with those fresh fancy herbs you find in the grocery store these days.  Fresh herbs are always far more expensive than I can afford to buy. But once in a while, they are marked down. That’s when I strike!  If I can get them for half price or less, I snap them up, take them home, and toss them into the dehydrator… except for what I will use in the next day or two.

A few years ago I found quite a sale at the grocery store, so I bought many bottles of spice seeds. These are stored in a kitty litter bucket. They are kept safe, clean, dry, and dark.

Many herbs can be grown on a window ledge at home. They can even be grown in a patch of your flower garden! Growing your own assures quality control and helps provide and economical source of taste.

A few pointers:
  • Herbs are green leaves, stems and blossoms of certain plants that enhance flavors.
  • Spices are the seeds, roots and barks of certain plants that enhance flavors.
Generally speaking:
  • Most herbs and spices only have about a year’s shelf life. As they grow older, the flavor lessens. It doesn’t spoil in the sense that it becomes a health hazard. It simply means that you need to use more in order to get the same effect.
  • Store your herbs and spices in a dark area. Exposure to light tends to deteriorate them faster. Those fancy little bottles may look pretty, but if you can see the herb, it’s losing potency.
  • Keeping your spices in their original form increases their life. I never buy ground or powdered spices. I always store the whole seeds and grind them as needed.

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