There’s an excellent chance some of the jars of herbs and spices in your pantry are old and expired. They lost flavor long ago, and they’re pricey to replace.
If you’ve got fresh herbs growing outdoors, or have a giant bunch you bought for a recipe that only used a little, you could—and should—make your own dried herbs. It’s easy, almost hands-off, and yields wonderful pungent flavor (not to mention a smidgeon of well-deserved pride). You can bottle each herb separately, or make your own custom blends.
At my house, we do this every year. Usually we make single-herb jars and our “signature blend” of green herbs such as thyme, sage, oregano, and rosemary that’s perfect for seasoning roast chicken, vegetables, salad dressing, and a bunch of other dishes. You can even mix dried herbs with coarse salt to make your own seasoned salt.
All summer, we can pick from the growing plants as we’re cooking, but as fall comes around, we keep an eye on the weather. Before the first frost, we rush out and harvest so we can dry the herbs, bottle them, and use them all winter.