Herbs for drying should be picked just before they come into flower. They are best picked on a dry day before the sun is hot. Remove leaves from the stalks of large varieties, and divide the small herbs into sprays. Put on shallow trays in thin layers and leave in a cool oven (125°F/50°C) or an airing cupboard, or on a cooker rack, until dry. This gives clean, freshly-coloured, herbs with good flavour. Parsley is not very easy to dry; it should be placed in a hot oven (400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6) for 1 minute, and then be finished off in a cool oven or airing cupboard; then it will retain its bright green colour. When the herbs are dry, remove the stems and rub the herbs down with a rolling pin. Put into small tins or jars, and store in a cool, dry place. Dried herbs should be used within a year, sooner if possible.
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