I get really frustrated at the quality and price of dried herbs and spices in the grocery store or in particular a gourmet store. You definitely get what you pay for, but even at best, what you are getting is two to three years old by the time it hits the shelves of your store.
I canvased the industry for an average price of herbs…I checked my local grocery store, a specialty spice store and a New York gourmet emporium and on average your standard herbs average $4-$6 per ounce of dried herbs. Not to mention the origin of these herbs are usually overseas (Spain, Egypt, etc.)…not a very environmentally friendly purchase.
The good news is that my frustration for 99% of my herbs is over since I started growing my own in a large dedicated bed. On average each plant species cost me around $2 and each plant, depending on the variety produces 8-10 ounces of dried product throughout the season. That works out to around 25 cents per ounce. Plus I know that the product is only one season old and can be stored for 8 months to a year. I can also share some of these products with my friends so they can save $ too!
Drying herbs couldn’t be easier. You can simply bundle the herbs and hang them upside down in a warm dry space. You can use an antique drying rack like I do, or you can use an electric dehydrator. I am considering purchasing one, but I need to get more information on the cost of ownership and operating before I decide to invest in one.
Another reason to start and maintain a garden, as you add flavor to your dishes, you can keep money in your pocket, have fresher product and keep from buying products that require a large amount of oil and gas to get to market!