Why do we want to dry herbs? Fresh herbs are the best for cooking but dried herbs are the best for seasoning the dishes, making tea, and even for gift giving. There are many methods to dry herbs but the easiest and most practical one is drying herbs in the oven.
Many herbs can be dried using this method. For example, you can dry your mint and lemon balm that are perfect herbs for tea. If you don’t have mint or lemon balm, you need to learn about how to grow mint indoors first. Then you can harvest the leaves and use them for anything you desire.
Herbs That Are Perfect for Drying Herbs in Convection Oven
Among so many different herbs, some of them are the best ones. Here is a list of the best herbs to dry for many uses:
You can use any oven you have for drying herbs in the oven. However, before preparing the oven for the drying process, make sure you make some pre-preparation first. What should you do before drying the fresh herbs?
Preparations to Make Before Drying Herbs in Toaster Oven
Some things must be prepared before the drying process begins. Here are some things that must be ready to get the dried herbs you desire:
- Herbs you want to desire, in clean and dry condition.
- Baking sheets you will use to place the herbs to be dried.
- Oven, you can use toaster oven, convection oven, microwave oven, gas oven, or any other type of oven you own.
- Bags or containers to keep your dried herbs.
You might be wondering if you can dry some different herbs at once. Before you do that, keep in your mind that different herbs require different cooking time to be dry. Time for drying herbs in the oven such as rosemary may be different from the time to dry mint in the oven. Just don’t burn them all.
After the entire preparation is done, you need to start the drying process. There are simple and easy steps to do to dry the fresh herbs properly. Follow the steps you’ll find below and get the dried herbs that are extremely beneficial.
Easy Steps to Dry Your Fresh Herbs
If you follow the steps here, you should be able to get the dried herbs you desire. Whether you are drying herbs in a microwave oven or in any other kind of oven, these steps will lead you to the best dried herbs you can use for cooking, for tea, and for any other purpose.
1. Prepare the herbs before drying herbs in the oven
First step will be harvesting the fresh herbs. If you don’t have fresh herbs to be harvested, you may have to plant and grow them first. If your homegrown herbs are pesticides free, you don’t need to wash your fresh herbs. Washing the herbs will strip the leaves’ oils.
If the herbs you’re about to dry are from the grocery store, you need to rinse the leaves gently and dry them completely. The process of drying herbs in the oven will take more time if the herbs are still damp. Then you need to place the leaves of fresh herbs on your baking sheet.
2. Placing the herbs on the sheets
When harvesting the fresh herbs, make sure you harvest only 1/3 to ½ of the plant. Pinch off your herbs’ leaves from their stems then lay down the leaves out on the cookie sheet. Make sure you spread your herbs in one single layer. Yes, you may have to prepare some baking sheets.
If there are several different herbs you use for drying herbs in the oven, you need to fill the baking sheet with herbs that are similar. Make sure they need similar cooking time to dry. The ones that require lower cooking time need to go out of the oven earlier.
3. Setting the oven for drying herbs in gas oven
Now since the fresh herbs are all ready, you need to turn the oven on and set it to its lowest setting. Place the baking sheet with fresh herbs on it inside the oven. Make sure you place that baking sheet in the middle of your oven.
Dry the fresh herbs inside the oven for about thirty minutes until an hour. Always make sure that the oven door is not closed. The oven door must be opened so that the moisture of your fresh herbs can get out during the process of drying herbs in the oven.
4. Check out your herbs during the drying process
After the first 30 minutes you must check your herbs and then rotate your baking sheets. You may figure out that during the 30 minutes of drying herbs in the oven some of your herbs are already done. Basil and parsley usually are the first ones to dry before the others are completely dry.
If the other herbs are not complete dried yet, you need to continue baking. But check the herbs after 15 minutes to make sure no herbs are burnt during this process of drying herbs in the oven. If the leaves of herbs crumble between your fingers, your herbs are completely dried.
5. Packing the dried herbs
Pull your dried herbs out of the oven and allow them to completely cool. Any moisture left will cause mold to your herbs. Crumble the herbs and then store the cooled ones inside the airtight container or a jar. Use them whenever you want to make tea or to season something.
If you know someone who loves using dried herbs for any occasion, you can wrap the jar of your dried herb, pack it with a recipe of drying herbs in the oven, and give it as a gift. They would really appreciate this useful gift.
The best ingredients for dried herbs are the fresh herbs you harvest from your own garden. It is worth it to learn to plant herbs at home so that you can get healthier herbs along the year and make the dried herbs anytime you need.