The right herbs will enhance and complement the foods contained in a dish. For home cooks, professional chefs and interested foodies, herbs are the secret to a great meal. If you have your own herb garden, you might find your yield of fresh herbs more than you possibly could use before they start to go bad. Drying herbs from home is a great way to save those herbs for future use, even in the dead of winter. Selling these dried herbs also can be a lucrative source of income.
Find out if you need licensing to sell foods in your area. Food-handling regulations vary from state to state and even within counties, so you will need to find out what is needed in your area. This may require passing a food-handler's exam or having a personal inspection from a government employee.
Research your herbs to find out the best time to harvest them for drying. For many species, the right time to harvest is at the first sign of flowering. Others can be harvested whenever they are most plentiful. The optimum picking time will vary from herb to herb, so be sure to do your homework.
Harvest your herbs in the early morning before direct sunlight removes moisture from the leaves. If possible, harvest herbs slightly wet with morning dew. Cut the leaves from your plants from the stem, leaving your root in place for future harvesting.
Hang your stems upside down in a room temperature, low-lit location with adequate air circulation. If desired, your herbs also can be hung inside a brown paper bag to keep them from direct light. Allow your herbs to dry for at least one week.
Remove the leaves from the stems, bag and label as desired. Some herbs should be sold as whole leaves, while others should be ground in a grinder or with a mortar and pestle. To better market your herbs, place your company name or logo on the label of your packaging.
Sell your goods at community or farmer's markets. For a fee, you will be given a booth or table space to sell your goods directly to the public. You might also contact local grocers to see if they would be interested in selling your goods. Online stores are yet another alternative for selling your home-dried herbs.
Things you need
- Food handler's license
- Brown paper bag
- Herb grinder
- Mortar and pestle