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If you grow any of your own herbs, you’re bound to have a surplus at some point. Green leaves can be frozen, but the old-fashioned ways are still the most popular.

Well dried herbs keep for a long time, and are instantly available when you need them

But well dried is the key. Hang them above the stove or fireplace in pretty bunches, and they will look good for a while, but pretty soon bits will start to fall off, they’ll attract grease from cooking, and insects will visit them too.



Put them in airtight glass jars – again to look pretty on your kitchen shelf – and the light will begin to break them down 

Moulds will form because dried herbs still contain moisture and it won’t be able to escape. When you open the jar in six months’ time, the green will have faded to brown, and most of the volatile oils will either have departed or broken down into something less pleasant.

So what should you do with them?

The best thing of all is old-fashioned brown paper bags. The herbs are protected from light, and they can breathe. Keep them somewhere dry, in an even temperature, and they should still be potent in a year or more – by which time you’ll have a new batch.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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