How To Dry Herbs and Flowers

How To Dry Herbs and Flowers

How To Dry Herbs and Flowers

Step-by-step guide of the 5 methods of how to dry herbs and flowers. I have preserved flowers and herbs for many different projects over the years. There are several different ways to preserve flowers and herbs, but what it boils down to is what kind of project you will do with the end dried herb or flower that matters.

Drying flowers and herbs is a simple process that helps preserve their beauty and allows you to use them in various crafts, culinary endeavors, or home decor.

5 Methods For How To Dry Herbs and Flowers

Each technique for how to dry herbs and flowers is a little different. The details below will give you an idea of which method you may want to use to preserve your herbs and flowers.

1.) Air Drying:

Hang lavender upside down by rubber band to air dry

Air drying is the simplest of the methods and of course, the oldest way to dry your plantings.

The only con to using this method is the fact that your colors fade or turn much darker than your original specimen. 

If you want true colors, this method may not be the best. You can try using one of the additional methods below.

Method For How To Air Dry

  • Gather up and bunch stems with a rubber band, and hang them in a dry and warm place.
  • Most of my items take several weeks to completely dry out.
  • After they are completely dry, wrap them in tissue paper and store them in a box to take out as needed for flower projects.
  • If the items will be used for culinary purposes, store them in an air-tight container.

This method is perfect for drying lavender for culinary purposes and flowers to use in decor.

Additional Read: Lavender Lemonade & Simple Syrup with Lavender Ice Cubes

2.) Use Silica Gel Crystals

You can dry flower heads for potpourri or to use in flower arrangements.

Silica gel crystals work by removing the moisture of flowers in days or using the microwave method to speed up the process in silica gel crystals.

  • Silica gel crystals can be purchased in floral shops and garden centers.
  • They are a little more expensive but can be used over and over again.
  • They remove moisture from the plant while keeping the color and structure.
  • Most flowers dry in 2-5 days.
  • Do not leave in silica longer than directed the flowers will get dry and crumble.
  • Useable. Can be recharged again and again.

Method For Using Gel Crystals

  • Pour half of them into a plastic container.
  • Bury your plant into the sands, spooning the mixture all around the plant, until the plant is completely covered.
  • Place a lid on the container and leave it for a week to dry out.
  • Once your flowers are dry, spray them with some light polyurethane varnish to keep them for years of enjoyment in dried floral arrangements.

3.) Drying Using The Microwave

If you have tiny flowers or a small batch of herbs to dry, the microwave works very well.

Keep in mind that the items do not hold their shape very well, so you might want to use this method for drying herbs for recipes or using flowers in potpourri.

Method For Drying Using The Microwave

  • Place an absorbent paper towel on top of a glass turntable inside of the microwave.
  • Place your herbs or flowers on the paper towel and close the door.
  • You will need to experiment with times and temps. To start try to set your microwave to a medium temp and set your time to 1 minute 30 seconds.
  • If the herbs are not dry, add 30 seconds and check again.
  • Continue until completely dry. Store in a covered container.

4.) Use A Wire Rack

This method is in my top two for drying just about anything. Perfect for drying just about anything from petals and leaves to entire flowers.

@nikkilynn54311 Collected additional white and red clover today. After picking, trimming and washing the flowers they are stored on drying racks. Today there is a gentle breeze on the front deck so the flowers are staying there until dusk. #whiteclover #redclover #flowers #botanicals #foraged #dryingflowers #dryingflowersinprogress ♬ Flower – Moby

Method For Using A Wire Racks

  • Place delicate flowers & leaves on a wire baking rack.
  • Allow to dry in a warm, dry place.
  • Once dry out you store them in an airtight container.

If you do not want to invest in wire baking racks search second-hand shops or the Facebook Marketplace to locate vintage flower bulb drying racks or window screens. I find both options extremely helpful when I want to dry clover or raspberry leaves for tea, plantain, and other botanicals for salves and tinctures.

The racks in the video are vintage flower bulb drying racks that I found on Facebook Marketplace. I had my eye on them in an Antique store for many years. My husband also found them on Marketplace and purchased them as a gift for me.

Additional Read: 3 Ways To Dry Fruit For The Birds

5.) Using a Press

Presses are ideal for flowers, stems, flower leaves, and tree leaves. Purchase a flower press from any craft shop, BUY ON AMAZON, or make your own like I have.

A DIY press is a super simple and extremely affordable project that anyone can create. A press consists of two pieces of wood with 4 holes that are threaded with a bolt and wingnut in each corner.

Method For Using A Press

  • The best flowers and leaves for pressing are flowers that are simple and not thick-centered.
  • Flowers and leaves should be new, fresh, and picked during the mid-morning on a dry day.
  • Throw out the cardboard inserts and replace them with the newspaper. You can also use white computer paper to do this.
  • Open the press and place newspaper on the bottom, then a blotting sheet on top.
  • Place the flowers on the blotting paper leaving space between flowers.
  • Put another layer of blotting paper on top of the flowers and then more newspapers.
  • Continue to build up your layers in the same manner.
  • Screw down your press tightly and place it in a warm, dry place for 6 weeks.

There is also an oven method but I don’t like to use it 🙂

Remember to choose the method that best suits your specific flowers or herbs, as some methods work better for certain types. A little trial and error is good for the soul. Once dried, store your flowers and herbs in airtight containers away from direct sunlight to maintain their quality.

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