Friday, September 21, 2007

drying comfrey leaves


Someone on The Essential Herbal list asked how to dry large-leaved herbs, such as comfrey. Here is my reply:
There are a couple ways you can go with drying comfrey. Firstly, be tender handling your comfrey leaves as they bruise quite easily. You won’t know it at first, but upon drying the bruised leaves will go brown rather than green. Secondly, comfrey leaves shouldn’t be touching when they dry. Again, browning rather than greening when dry. So, if you have lots of room, you can lay the leaves on screening. But, you can also hang them to dry. If you do bunches, like you can for so many other herbs, they tend to brown or mold. So get some heavy duty thread (more like crochet thread) and get it into a large eyed needle. Then, skewer each leaf near the fleshy bit where the stem attaches to the leaf. Thread on each leaf like that until you have several and then hang the thread up. Think stringing popcorn and cranberries. Leave a gap between each leaf and make sure you have good air circulation. You could also string up a clothes line in your house and clothes pin each leaf to it. Only clip the stem, not the leaf part. Make sure you wear gloves as those little hairs on comfrey can dig into skin worse than any splinter and be tougher to get out. (Then you would need my Grandpa Benson’s drawing salve.) www.GreenSpiralHerbs.com

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7 comments:

Allison Ann Aller said...

We have comfrey...grow it for compost tea for the garden. Now that I know how to dry it, I will have to learn how to use it!

Betty said...

Allison, we make Healing Comfort Salve with our comfrey and calendula. Works beautifully. BTW, I love your crazy quilts. Once things settle down a bit here, I will post some of my creations on here as well.

Allison Ann Aller said...

Thanks Betty!
I was hoping some CQ work would find its way into your blog....;-) I look forward to seeing your creations here.

Marshell said...

Hi, I live on a farm and a neighbor/landlord just gave me a bunch of big leaf comfrey,which she pulled from her garden. I want/need to dry them, but my apartment doesn't have bright light shining through nor much light in the summer as I'm on the lower, ground-level and trees canopy over much of the front of my apartment. How can I dry Comfrey successfully inside? It will be my first time trying.

Betty said...

Marshell, you should dry the comfrey in a shady location anyway. Either put the individual leaves onto screens and elevate the screens so you have good airflow all around, or hang a few leaves from the ceiling. You could also put the comfrey leaves in your car trunk (single layer of leaves only).

Molly H. Duggan, PhD said...

can you dry comfrey leaves in a dehydrator?

Robyn said...

About how long does it take the comfrey leaves to dry once hung?