- When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown mint for the best quality and nutritional value. Determine when fresh mint is available where you live with this seasonal food guide.
If this is your first time drying or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Drying Information before beginning.
1. Selection & Ingredients
- Select herbs at peak quality and flavor. Do not use herbs that show signs of decay, mold, or bruising. These defects may affect all pieces being dried.
- Gather herbs in the morning after the dew has evaporated to minimize wilting.
- Avoid bruising the leaves.
- Use clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation.
- Many types of food dehydrators can be used and are explained in detail in Food Dehydrators.
- Storage containers
- Clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags
- Vacuum packaging is also a good storage option
- Cutting board
- Paper towels (for removing excess moisture)
- Timer or clock
3. Ingredient Preparation
- Rinse herbs in cool water and gently shake to remove excess moisture.
- Can also lightly pat with a paper towel, if needed.
- Separate clusters and discard long or tough stems.
- Arrange herbs in single layers on drying trays.
- Dry at 95-115 degrees F in an oven or dehydrator.
- In areas with high humidity, 125 degrees F may be needed.
- If necessary, turn pieces over every 1 to 2 hours during the drying period. Herbs can scorch easily toward the end of drying, so monitor more closely as drying nears completion.
- Total Drying Time: 1-4 hours in a dehydrator (may take up to twice as long in a conventional oven)
- Dried herbs should be crispy dry and crumble easily.
- Store small amounts of conditioned dried herbs in moisture-vapor-proof containers or bags.
- Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying.
- Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Properly stored, dried herbs keep well for six to 12 months.
- Discard herbs that have off odors or show signs of mold.
6. Using Dried Herbs
- Dried herbs are usually 3-4 times stronger than fresh herbs.
- To substitute dried herbs in a recipe that calls for fresh herbs, use 1/4 to 1/3 the amount listed in the recipe.
- Dried herbs make great additions to foods with lots of liquid, such as soups, sauces or dips.