There's nothing more rewarding than getting high on your own supply - smoking plants that you grew yourself, that is! Smoking herbs from your garden or windowsill, the farmers' market, your CSA, or from the produce department of the grocery store is a fantastic way to be sure what you're smoking is safe.
Follow this step-by-step guide to drying your own herbs to enjoy the most potent and flavorful smoke possible. Here we show examples with leaves, but this process can be done with flowers as well.
Note: The following process does not apply to cannabis.
STEP 1: Pick the leaves from your plants. Make sure to only pick leaves that look healthy and show no discoloration. Picking in the morning of a dry day is best, after the morning dew has evaporated but before the heat of the day or direct sun has set in. Remove and discard any stems. Do not wash your herbs unless they’re covered in dirt. If they do need a wash, dry each leaf completely after with a paper towel.
STEP 2: Lay your leaves out on a paper towel. Make sure none of the leaves are touching each other, and keep them in a place where they can remain undisturbed and out of direct sunlight for a few days. If you’re going to be drying multiple herbs at once, don’t forget to label them! You can just write the name of your herbs right on the paper towel.
Here we have rosemary:
And here is chocolate mint (left) and sage (right):
STEP 3: Keep an eye on them and look for changes in color and brittleness. The time it takes for your herbs to dry will depend on where you live, what time of year it is, the weather, and the air conditions inside your house. If you live in an arid desert climate, they may only take a few hours to dry completely. If you live somewhere wet and humid, it could take a few days. Some herbs will take longer to dry than others, even in the same conditions.
This is what the chocolate mint leaves look like after one day:
You can see that they’ve curled and become darker in color. These two things are typically a sure sign that your herbs are either fully dried or are pretty close.
This is what the sage leaves, on the other hand, look like after the same amount of time (one day):
They haven’t curled and they haven’t really changed their color for the most part. The leaves are more wilted than dry, which means they need more time. Large leaves like sage can also be flipped over every so often so that each side dries evenly.
Herbs dried for smoking are best when the herbs have JUST BARELY dried. This means they feel rough, firm, and just break apart in your fingers, but they’re not so bone dry and brittle that they almost powderize when you touch them. The drier the herbs, the harsher they smoke.
A good test to know if they’re ready is to put the herbs between your fingers and see if they break or snap. You can tell these sage leaves aren’t ready yet because they curl in your fingers:
You can see that this rosemary isn't ready either:
This rosemary broke apart and is ready!
You'll also want to look closely at your herbs to make sure all of it has dried, and not just half.
Take a look at this sage leaf:
See how it’s mostly grey-green in color, except for that area on the left that’s brighter green? That brighter green area isn’t dry yet. So while the right half of this leaf may be ready, the left isn’t.
This is the same leaf, but completely dry:
This is important because if you try to smoke herbs that aren’t dry, your smoke either won’t light or stay lit. Also, due to the water content still present, mold could form if you tried to store this sage in a closed container for future use. Which brings us to…
STEP 4: Store your herbs or enjoy in a smoke immediately. Since you don’t want your herbs to dry out anymore than is absolutely necessary, you’ll want to either smoke them right away or store in a glass jar or sealed plastic bag.
You can either grind them up before storing so that you don’t have to do it later, or you can just leave the dried leaves as is and break them up right before a smoke session. Waiting until the last possible minute to break them up will help to keep terpenes from evaporating as well, which means more aroma, flavor, and effect!
Label your jar with the herb and the date. These dried herbs should last for a year or more if they're kept in an air-tight container and kept out of light.
And that's it! Drying your own herbs to smoke really isn't that hard, and you'll really notice the difference between herbs you've dried yourself versus any herbs from a bulk supplier.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.