I love to dry herbs in the oven if I’m feeling impatient and want my herbs to dry right away. This process is of course a little bit more efficient than air-drying them, but if you live in a very humid climate, you may find that you like the results a little better this way as well.
I decided the other day that it would be a good idea to do a little early season harvest and dry herbs in the oven rather than string them up all over the house. I do like to air dry herbs when it’s one or two little bundles, but if I’m doing a bigger batch then something a little more efficient is definitely in order. My little herb garden is coming along quite nicely these days and I really want to try to do a good job of preserving some of that abundance for the colder months this year. There’s so much growing so well out there already and I was feeling kind of ambitious so I ended up harvesting quite a bit. When you have a lot of herbs to dry all at once, this oven method is definitely the way to go!
How to Dry Herbs in the Oven: Harvesting
When you dry herbs in the oven, you definitely want to be mindful of which herbs you dry together because the different herbs can impart their flavours onto each other. It’s a safe bet to stick to doing just one type of herb at a time, but you can also just make sure that you put herbs together that work well together. Things like basil and oregano are often used together in Italian cooking, so they work well together. Or Rosemary and Thyme. Things like that.
You generally want to harvest most herbs shortly before they flower (if they do flower at all) for the best flavour, but feel free to experiment and harvest them at other times as well. I decided to harvest and dry some of our crazy, over-grown oregano to use on all the homemade pizzas we’ve been making lately, and some chives too just for fun, because they go with everything. 🙂 If you have a ton of oregano as well, check out my post specifically on harvesting, (air)drying and storing oregano for a few more details.
Time to Dry the Herbs!
Once you’ve selected, harvested, and washed and gently towel-dried your herbs, it’s time to start with the actual herb-drying process!
Start out by lining a few baking sheets with parchment paper. You want to use enough sheets so you can lay your herbs out in a single layer and allow for a decent amount of air circulation around each sprig or leaf.
Place your herbs down on the baking sheets, leaving them as full sprigs if you’re working with smaller-leafed herbs (like thyme or rosemary), or removing the leaves from the stems if you’re working with larger leaves (like basil or sage).
Set your oven to 180F (or whatever the lowest temperature that you can set it to is) and place your baking sheets inside.
After about 30 minutes, check your herbs. If they crumble between your fingers, they’re done.
If they aren’t done yet at that point, keep the oven door open for about a minute to allow some of the moisture to escape, rotate your baking sheets, and close your oven back up for another 15 minutes or so before checking your herbs. It should take less than an hour for them to be done.
Dry Herbs in the Oven: Storage After Drying
After your herbs are fully dried, you’ll want to store them in sealed containers to retain their freshness, just like you would with herbs from the store. Depending on how you use your herbs, you can either just crumble them with your fingers, or you can use a coffee grinder to turn them into a powder if that works better for you.
Complete these steps a few times with a few different herbs and you should be all set for herbs when the cold weather hits in the fall!
Have you ever tried to dry herbs in the oven before? What herbs are you growing in your garden this year?
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