Rosemary: Drying, storing and usage

This article contains everything you could need to know about Rosemary, how to prepare and dry it and how it should be stored!

What is Rosemary?

Rosemary is a woody herb originating from the Mediterranean. Like other herbs in the area, it is very fragrant, smelling of pine needles and faintly of mint. This is because Rosemary belongs to the mint family, also known as the Lamiaceae family, if called by its proper name.

Rosemary is not just used as a culinary herb but as a nice hedging plant. Rosemary like all herbs is best when served fresh but is popular dried or ground-up as well.

How to prepare Rosemary for drying?

First, the sprigs of Rosemary should be snipped from the plant using sharp scissors to damage the plant as little as possible. Unlike some herbs, Rosemary should be kept on the stalk to dry rather than pulled away. The best time of day to harvest Rosemary is early in the morning after the sun has dried away the morning dew, too early and the rosemary could become damaged by the water and not dry correctly.

The twigs you snip off should be straight and even in size. Once snipped, tie a bundle of a few twigs together with string. Check the Rosemary over before you hang it to make sure it doesn’t contain any form of insect.

What are the best ways for drying Rosemary?

One of the most common ways to dry Rosemary is to hang them in a cool dry spot in the kitchen. Rosemary can be dried outside, but it can become tainted by animals, insects or the weather. Make sure you turn the sprigs every couple of days so they dry evenly. For better protection, they can be hung in ventilated paper bags, but it isn’t 100% needed. It can take 5 to 7 days to dry your Rosemary, so keep an eye on them, you don’t want to leave them out too long or they could spoil.

It is very important that your Rosemary is hung up to dry in as least humid a location as possible. It can spoil very easily. If you have an oven, that’s on often that’s normally a pretty good place (unless you boil water for a lot which could damage the drying process).

Rosemary can also be dried by baking it in the oven. Spread your Rosemary out evenly over a sheet of baking paper and bake for one hour (turning every 30 minutes). Do keep an eye on your herbs though, as it is very easy for them to suddenly burn. If they start to go slightly brown or worse, black, turn the oven off. Alternatively, you can turn the oven off at 30 minutes, turn the herbs and then leave them in the oven with the door closed.

We can spread Rosemary flat on a windowsill, it’s best they stay elevated and well ventilated or they may not dry evenly. You should turn them every other day anyway, just to be sure.

Lastly, you can always dry Rosemary in a food dehydrator. When drying them this way, you shouldn’t raise or drop the temperature out of the 35-45 degrees Celsius range. Outside of this range and you’re at risk of either taking way too long or beginning to cook the sprigs. It could take anywhere between 2-5 hours in a food dehydrator, Don’t leave them alone for more than half an hour without checking them or you may come back to spoiled Rosemary.

How to store Rosemary

Rosemary needs to first be separated from the stalk before storing it. Spread them out on a baking sheet, turn them upside down and pull your fingers down the stem forcing the little sprigs against the stalk t0wards what was the top. They should snap off easily with very little force. Once you’ve removed them all, pour them from the paper (without the stalks) into a glass mason jar or plastic container. They will keep for 1-2 years.

I hope this article answers any Rosemary drying questions you may have had. Best of luck in your herb drying endeavors.