Viability of Using Freeze Dried Herbs to Improve the Quality and Performance of Value-Added Herbal Products

Project Overview

FNC18-1126
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $6,929.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Frozen in Thyme
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Sheri Howard
Frozen In Thyme Herbs

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study

    Summary:

    Today’s herbalists prepare their products using a combination of fresh and dried herbs. While fresh herbs impart a higher degree of color, aroma, flavor, and active constituents, they also introduce moisture into the process that can lead to molding. For this reason most herbalists turn to dried herbs for use in their products. Dried herbs eliminate much of the moisture, but also lose many of the properties that make the herbs beneficial to the final product. Access to locally and sustainably grown dried herbs is also very limited.

    Freeze drying provides a cost effective and improved alternative to preserving herbs. It removes 98%+ of the moisture while preserving most of the color, flavor, aroma, and constituents found in fresh herbs. The availability of home freeze dryers makes it possible for artisan producers to have access to locally grown, freeze dried herbs and the potential to improve the quality of their products.

    This project is designed to determine if freeze dried herbs can be successfully used in herbal products, and if there is any noticeable improvement in the quality of the products. It will also determine if there is perceived market value in having access to locally and sustainably grown herbs.

    Project objectives:

    1. Determine the viability of using freeze dried herbs in the manufacture of herbal products (tinctures, creams, infused oils, salves, lip balms, etc.) including performance during processing, and quality of final product.
    2. Identify perceived improvements by producers of customers in the quality, effectiveness, and market value of herbal products manufactured with freeze dried herbs in their products.
    3. Identify opportunities for local artisans producing herbal products to increase their market share by using freeze dried vs traditionally dried herbs.
    4. Introduce opportunities for local herb growers to diversify their product offerings by freeze drying their herbs.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.