Regardless, I love both because they add lots of flavor without lots of calories to my food.
1.) Make sure your hands are clean but also bone dry before working with your herbs. You don't want to encourage mold by getting any of your herb stems wet.
2.) Pull your herb bunches out of your paper bags or however you've been storing them to dry. Remove the rubber bands or twine that held the bunches together. Lay flat.
3.) Gently extract the dried leaves or sprigs from the stem. Discard stem. Be very careful not to crush or damage the leaves or sprigs in any way. Keep them in whole form. Try not to get any stem bits in the storage containers. Crush right before use for best flavor as ground herbs and spices loose their punch rather quickly.
5.) Place dried herb bits and leaves in containers such as Mason or Ball Jars for airtight storage. Screw that lid on tight! Glass baby food jars or empty garlic jars work excellent too because they are small. You could also just save your old store bought plastic containers to store your new herbs in. Just don't mix the old with the new. It's convenient if the empty container you're using for thyme just happens to be an old thyme bottle but not necessary. That's what a Sharpie marker is for!
Remember: As your herbs loose their color, they are also loosing their flavor!!
1.) Airtight containers such as Mason jars have screw-cap lids that are best for a tight seal. Store your glass jars in a cool, dry location away from any direct light. Ziploc bags can be a quick and easy storage solution, just don't buy the cheap brands that don't seal well. Always make sure you close the container tightly as soon as you are finished using it.
3.) Spice racks are cute. Storing your herbs on the countertop may be tempting and convenient but don't do it! Both the light and the heat damage the herbs, both in potency and nutritional value. But if you love your herb display, choose to store your herbs in dark-tinted or non-clear containers. No Mason or Ball Jars. No Ziploc bags.
Not sure if the spice or herb is still good? Try the sniff test. Bring your nose to the container and take a good whiff. If the aroma isn't pungent, it may be time to purge. Another test is to compare the old with the new. Remember that a weak-scented spice or herb is a waste of your cooking time!
Whole Herbs & Spices
Whole herbs and spices can be stored between 2 to 5 years. After that the flavor begins to deteriorate. They're not harmful, they just don't taste as good.
*Note: Many whole spices such as peppercorns & cinnamon sticks have a protective cell structure so they don't reveal their full fragrance until crushed.
Dried Herbs & Spices
Ground herbs and spices should only for stored from 3 months to two years. If you are buying a spice you don't use very often, you might just want to buy a single-use spice or just splurge on fresh herbs.
*And there's always Penzeys to purchase in small bulk quantities!