Start with quality...
For dried herbs to be at their best flavor and freshness you have to start with quality herbs. Quality herbs are grown with care, proper nutrients, adequete water and harvested at the propper times and in the propper manner. These conditions depend on the herb and knowing how to care for them.
Once harvested they need to be dried under spacific conditions and processed into usable parts. For us air drying is best in our cool dark barn. Once completely dry they have to be cut then sifted to remove the unwanted parts, mostly this is the stem and tiny bits. Here at the farm this is all done by hand in small managable batches.
Get away from the stove...
For dried herbs to be at their peak of freshness and flavor when you need them they also need to be stored properly. Away from excessive heat, light and moisture! The cupboard above your stove and the drawer next to it is NOT the place for quality herbs.
Here at the farm my personal herbs are stored in vintage blue Ball Perfect Mason jars inside a wooden cupboard in the cool basement (one of our pantries). I have a collection of smaller pint and even half pint jars in the kitchen and fill them when needed. These smaller herb and spice jars are in our vintage Hoosier cupboard away from the heat of the oven and stove.
Choose a pretty, adequately sized glass jar with an air tight lid. I say a pretty jar because it has to make you happy when you want to use it and look at it all the time. I LOVE poking around my vintage jars for what I am looking for.
Loosely pack your herbs and seal the jar. Label it with the contents and the date. Set it away from light and heat and your fresh dried herbs will be ready to use for many years to come.
Over the years I have tried freezing them, vacuum sealing and storing in reused plastic containers. I found that this effort was unneeded in the case of freezing and vacuum sealing and did not extend the life of my herbs when they were stored in cheap reused plastic containers.
Headed to the compost bin...
Some say all herbs and spices should be tossed out after a year because they go bad. I believe this is advice with a sales incentive behind it. I myself have found when quality herbs are stored properly they will last for many years. When your herbs start to lose their flavor and color and aren’t making you happy, that’s the time to retire them to the compost bin.
Even older dried herbs that have started to lose their flavor are still ok to use as long as they aren’t moldy or show other signs of spoilage like having a bad smell, just add a bit more to your cooking to meet your tastes.