Dried herbs are a precious commodity and can last quite a long time if stored properly.
Once you buy them, either online or locally in bulk, you'll likely have more than you need for your current preparations. To preserve freshness, potency, and effectiveness of their locked-in healing power, they need to be cared for and likely taken out of that plastic or paper bag they came in.
Under the right conditions, dried herbs can retain their potency and freshness for up to 6-12 months!
As an alternative healer married to an herbalist, we've developed a system for storing and caring for our herbs. In our house, we use herbs primarily in teas and poultices, as well as other preparations designed specifically for healing. So, we need the herbs to last and stay effective. Below, we've shared with you our top 3 tips for herb storage.
How to Store Dried Herbs to Keep Them Fresh
1. Air Tight Containers
This is THE most important factor to herb freshness. Keep that air out! Oxygen is great and all, but just like any other consumable good, when air gets in, things get stale - FAST. Store your herbs in air tight containers, plastic or glass. We prefer glass and use pint sized canning jars or recycled jars from jams and jellies. The picture above is of our personal herb collection.
2. Away from Direct Sunlight
When stored in direct sunlight, herbs can lose some of their potency. To avoid this loss of potency from the sun's rays, store your herbs in a place where they won't be hit with direct sunlight during the day. A cabinet is great for this.
3. Avoid Temperature and Humidity Fluctuations
Stable, room temperatures at low-moderate humidity is best for herb storage. Avoid storing your herbs in a place where the temperature fluctuates too much throughout the day, or in a place where the humidity is very high, like a basement. The last thing you want is loss of potency from freezing and heating, or worse yet, for mold to grow in your herb jars.
Follow these steps for herbs that will last. Kitchens, dining rooms, and cabinets on the first floor of the home are ideal for herb storage. Make sure to keep your collection in air-tight containers outside of direct sunlight, and you're good to go!
LAST UPDATED: February 6, 2016
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