25 September, 2019
How to Hang-Dry Plants
Our new home has an amazing mint garden out front and a raspberry bramble out back. As anyone who’s ever met me knows all too well, I love tea. Mint tea is the quintessential winter beverage for me, and raspberry leaf tea is like black tea’s fruity cousin. With two natural resources literally right outside my door, I decided to take advantage of nature’s bounty.
Whether you have herbs you want to dry for winter, plants you want to bundle for smudging, or flowers you’d like to preserve, this little how-to is here to help.
What You’ll Need
Whether you’re drying herbs, leaves, or flowers, the key is going to be making tight wraps around your plant bundles. Before you get bundling, you’re going to need to string up a drying line. The best place to do this is somewhere warm, dry, and well-ventilated. I hung mine up over the kitchen sink, suspended between two cabinets. Laundry rooms and pantries can also work well if you don’t want them hanging up anywhere obvious.
Run the string between two pushpins and use clothespins to hang up your bundles if you’re making a suspended line as I did. Otherwise, you can use a pushpin and a line of string for each bundle if you’d like to hang them individually.
Next, if you’re drying anything you intend to eat, it needs to be washed first. Rinse and pat dry your herbs with a towel. Spread them out on a counter so they aren’t overlapping and let them air dry for an hour or two.
Once you have your hanging line and clean herbs, it’s time to get wrapping. Unless you’re making smudging bundles, you’re only going to wrap the string around the ends of the stems. Make sure you hold the herbs close together and wrap them tightly. The plants will shrink as they lose water, and if they’re not wrapped tight enough from the start, you’ll have to rewrap them later. Your bunches should be on the smaller side so that the leaves aren’t compressed and there’s room for air to circulate.
For smudging bundles, wrap your string tightly around the bundle and make a lacing pattern up and down the entire length of your plant bundle. These bunches are likely to be substantially larger than the other drying bundles.
Hang your plants up to dry on the line for about two weeks. If you live somewhere dry like I do, they might be ready far sooner. Once they’re crisp and dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store them in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. For flowers, display them as you wish. For smudging bundles, burn baby burn!