I can't think of a better way to spend the Fourth of July than to putter around the garden, enjoying the sunshine and freedom! Thank you USA!
While waiting for the fireworks to start I cut some Oregano stalks just before they started to flower. This is the best time to dry them, as this is when they have the most intense flavor. If you wait until after they have flowered, they will lose quite a bit of intensity.
I have a dehydrate setting on my convection oven. I just spread the Oregano stalks out on a cookie sheet covered with foil, and in about an hour at 160 degrees, the Oregano is completely dried out. You could just as easily hang the herbs upside down in a dark dry place and achieve the same results in a couple of days.
All you have to do when they have dried out is pull the stalk gently through your hands while holding over a wide mouth jar or bowl. I now have enough dried Oregano to last until next summer, and I plan to do this with all of the herbs in my garden.
These are perfect for herb butters, infused oils, and herb vinegars. Look for future posts on how to use fresh garden herbs for these and other gourmet creations.