An easy guide for drying herbs in the oven. Dried herbs are perfect for making tea, seasoning your favorite dish, or gift giving.
Gardening goals can be challenging. We need all the stars to align and give us sunshine followed by rain. I’ve had many gardening goals that were never achieved…but that’s life. The main goal for my herb garden this year was to grow the plants big enough to harvest the leaves for making tea. I have been drying lemon balm and mint about once a week, but it’s going to take most of the summer to fill even a few jars. I’m learning a lot though and every time I dry a batch of herbs, I feel very accomplished!
Here is a basic list of herbs that can be dried. For tea, I’m drying lemon balm (shown in this post) and mint. For cooking, I’m going to dry basil and rosemary. I also freeze basil to use in spaghetti sauce and soups. The herb drying process explained below can be used for all the herbs listed.
Related: All About Basil (How to grow, propagate, chop, and freeze.)
Best Herbs for Drying
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Grass
Drying Herbs in the Oven: An Easy Process
- Harvest your herbs. If the plants are homegrown and free of pesticides, it’s not necessary to wash them. Washing can strip the oils from the leaves. If you are drying grocery store herbs, it is best to gently rinse them and dry completely.
- Don’t harvest more than 1/3 to 1/2 of your plant at a time.
- Pinch off the leaves from the stems and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Try to keep them in one layer.
- Turn your oven on to the lowest setting. My oven won’t go lower than 170 degrees F so that’s what I use.
- Dry the herbs in your oven for about an hour, making sure to leave the door ajar. Closing the door will actually bake the herbs, which is not what you want.
- The herbs will look shriveled and they will darken in color.
- Cool completely.
- Store in glass jars.
I’m storing my dried herbs in quart mason jars and they are taking a long time to fill. I hope to get a couple of jars of both mint and lemon balm by the end of the summer. Since I’m drying for tea, I am gently crushing the dried herbs before I put them in the jars. I’ll be back soon with some printable tags in case you want to dry some herbs for yourself!
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