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Drying rosemary to maximize essential oils

Posts: 81
Location: Toronto Canada
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I'm in the process of drying my supply of rosemary and thought i'd share a few tricks.

The "traditional" method of hanging  cut stalks to dry IMO results in inferior product due to the leaves transpiring all the moisture in the stalk while the stalk tries to draw back any nutrients it can  from the leaves due to the shock of being cut.

so i have a system. i snip the stalks close to the ground, leave the roots and mulch heavily with leaves, a couple feet, sometimes it works but often not. Hence the need for overwintering indoors. The cut stalks i bring indoors and process.
I am in Toronto Canada,  we get cold winters and need to have the rosemary indoors to overwinter.
so my system of processing gives me high quality seasoning and woody slips to root for the next season's plantings.

cut into solid strong stalked shoots

take the cuttings and trim strip all leaves and smaller branches off the woody stalks

next take your shoots and pressure strip off the lower leaves and shoots by pinching your fingers and pulling up on the  stem of the shoot, leave about 1/4 of the length on the top unstripped.

push the shoots into window pots in your brighter windows to re-root and overwinter. i just push mine into existing plant pots. the rosemary seems to deter the white fly and spider mites.The stripped shoots seem to grow very vigorously with decent roots by spring and having the older stripped stalks replanted seems to give me more vigorous growth than tender new starts.

spread the rosemary leaves on a section of newspaper. Spread it out in an even layer on a table or counter,  turn it over the next day, continue till you notice the tips starting to curl  and wilt. At this point the water  of the remaining stem material has transpired though the leaves and they are starting to dry. They now need to be separated so each can dry more quickly, this  will maintain the oil in each leaf. continue to dry and turn daily till the leaves are just breakable, then store in a mason jar.

Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Thanks for the info, I have been hanging them only because the oil content wasn't as critical for me. Are you using them for a purpose other than cooking?
Leif Kravis
Posts: 81
Location: Toronto Canada
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no, but i am rooftop gardening in the city so try to maximize my yields in all ways
I brought this back from the farm where they grow the tiny ads:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
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