First Time Drying Sage

(Aubree here!)

We’re not completely moved in and situated yet, but, after weeks of traveling, camping, visiting family and unloading everything in our new (very toasty) apartment, I couldn’t wait to get started on a project other than moving, moving, moving.

This project, I could rationalize taking a break for because it still has something to do with making our impression on the place. Our apartment building is over 100 years old (with old paint, wood, no a/c), and all our belongings including much of our clothing were in storage for almost a year. So during this hot, dry summer, everything smelled very musty! Although we kept all windows, cupboards and drawers open, and washed our clothes (twice), everything still smelled like a thrift store.

I wanted my remedy for this to be creative, FRESH, natural, and cute!

Sooo eventually I’ll be trying my hand at natural citrus sachets using lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and sage. 
Although the sachets are the ultimate goal, we have to prepare and dry each ingredient, which becomes it's own fun series of projects that have multiple uses open to your creativity if not for a sachet.

First stop in this series: Dried Sage

(If you're considering the sachet): Although fall is fast approaching, it is still HOT and sage has a wonderfully fresh and cooling smell to preserve summer air and offset the tendency citrus has to be “autumny”. I’m so excited to combine sage with lemon! I wish I had mint and lavender, but it’s too late in the season, at least in this small town.

As this is one of my firsts, and I’m impatiently excited, I did some very quick reading on the subject and have read that dehydrators work best for drying herbs, citrus and fruit AND saves energy, but I’m on quite a modest budget and am trying to making do with what I have! 
They say one of the best environments for drying herbs is a barn during the summer because of the hot, dry air circulation, but not everyone has a barn. (Relax, it can still be done!) And hey, I’m on the top floor of my building with no a/c and good windows, so that’s like a barn, right? (insert funny about being born in a barn here)

What we need to dry sage (bare minimum)

-Twist ties, string, or rubber bands
-Fresh sage (At this point in the year, the closest I got to fresh sage was from the grocery store.)
-pant hanger (any hanger with a straight rod will do, keep in mind if it is metal or too slick a surface, your sage bunches will slide together and not aerate properly)
-paper bag (I hear it’s preferable, I didn’t have one. Maybe it would speed up the process?)
-window or oven handle (the hanger needs to hold onto a surface that will provide good air circulation)

Sneak Peek:

I multi-tasked and also tried to bake/dry some apples and citrus at the beginning, which required the oven to be propped open a few inches- perfect environment to hang my sage over for a jump-start to the drying process. The rest of the time, however, I’ve just hung my sage over an open window.
Getting ahead of myself!
Now that we have our supplies, let us begin!

Separate your sage into multiple, small bunches. Separate each stem with scissors, keeping stems as long as possible. Inspect each sprig(?) and clip off any tiny bud leaves that may be attached.
Secure the stems of your bunches (I prefer with a wired twist-tie as it has a more controllable grip, especially if you’re working with one hand while holding the delicate bunch with the other)-oh, this is important, if using twist tie, secure your stems with the END of a twist tie. You only need to wrap it around once.

Use the other end of twist-tie to attach your bunches to the hanger,
Spacing your bunches evenly apart, it is ready to hang up to dry!

The four bunches on the left have been up a few days, while I just put the ones on the right up today. They are to hang for a couple weeks until papery (I read). I’ll update what they look like when they’re done, but this is a fair start for you to get started yourself!
One last picture of the entire cute scene :) Oh hey, that's Shua my cactus chilling on the sill.
See ya next time for my dried citrus and apples!

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