Mint plants flourish in the right conditions and spread quickly. This means that if you are growing your own herbs, you can easily end up with way more fresh mint than you can use.
Luckily, mint dries well and can be used for over a year in cooking if properly dehydrated and stored. This means that a good herb harvest can add flavor to your cooking and tea for many months, without having to worry about anything going to waste.
Follow the guide below to find out everything you need to know to successfully dry mint leaves.
Types of Mint
Mint plants come in many different varieties. The leaves are oblong, with some species having wider and brighter green leaves than others. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the plant’s stem.
Mint leaves have a pleasantly refreshing and very recognizable smell. They have a slightly sweet flavor and cooling aftertaste.
Mint is very versatile. It is used in sweet and savory dishes as well as in teas, cocktail beverages, jellies, and syrup. Whether you are making a salad dressing, lamb, ice-cream, or fruit salad, mint is a great herb to have in stock at all times.
Can You Dry Mint Leaves?
Yes, mint leaves can be dried and used in a variety of ways. For the best flavor preservation, dry mint naturally by hanging. Using heat drying methods such as the oven or microwave can damage the oils and slightly dull the flavor.
However, the climate will play a role in the method you choose as high humidity can compromise the drying of your herbs. Oven-drying is a quick way to dry mint leaves. This is the best way to dry mint if you live in a very humid climate.
When drying mint, it is important to make sure that the herbs are completely dehydrated before packing. Mold will develop if moisture is present, even inside your containers.
How To Dry Mint
Lightly rinse the leaves in cold water. This will remove dirt, chemicals, and small insects. Don’t let the leaves spend too much time in the water. Place the mint leaves on a clean paper- or kitchen towel and pat them dry.
Removing excess moisture is imperative to successfully drying the herbs. Do not start the drying process if the leaves are still moist from washing. Let them dry in the open air for 30 minutes if necessary. Discard any damaged, moldy, or blemished leaves.
Decide whether you want to air-dry or oven-dry the leaves and follow the instructions below accordingly.
Option 1: Hanging (Air-Dry)
Step 1: Tie Bundles
Tie a few stems together with a twist tie or string to form small bundles.
Step 2: Hang
Choose a place with good light and air circulation and hang the herb bundles to dry. The leaves should be facing downwards.
Avoid areas that are moist such as spaces near a stove, dishwasher, or bathroom. Do not hang the mint in direct sunlight.
To protect the herbs from dust, cover each bundle with a perforated paper bag or muslin cloth. Punch holes in the bag and leave the bottom open to allow for sufficient air-flow.
Do not use plastic as this will prevent airflow and cause mold.
Depending on the climate, the mint will take 1 to 2 weeks to dry. The leaves should be brittle and break easily when you handle them. Leaves that are still somewhat pliable and do not crumble are not yet sufficiently dried.
Step 3: Store
Take the dried herb bundles down and carefully remove the brown bag. Small, crushed pieces are best for cooking, however, you can store the leaves whole if you are using them for tea.
Working over a bowl, remove the leaves from the stems. Crumble the dried leaves into small pieces.
Store the dried mint in a spice jar or container with a lid and label it with the date and contents.
Option 2: Oven-Dry
Step 1: Preheat Oven
Preheat the oven to its lowest heat setting between 140 °F to 180 °F (60 °C to 82 °C).
Step 2: Prepare Leaves
Remove mint leaves from the stem. Place the cleaned mint leaves on a parchment-lined baking tray in a single layer so that they do not overlap each other.
Step 3: Bake
Once the oven has heated to temperature, place the leaves inside the oven and switch the oven off. This prevents the leaves from overheating and losing their flavor. Check on the leaves after 10 minutes.
If they have not yet sufficiently dried, leave them in the oven, checking every 5 minutes. The leaves should curl and crumble when pinched between your fingers.
Step 4: Store
Let the dried mint leaves cool for a few minutes and then crush the dried leaves over a bowl or plate. Store the mint in resealable plastic bags, spice bottles, or containers. Label with the date and contents.
Once dried and packaged, store the mint in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
With a great flavor and aroma, mint is a popular herb in sweet and savory cooking. When it comes to drying mint, low and slow is best. Use a low temperature for a little longer rather than trying to dry it quickly at high heat. You will thank yourself later for the well-preserved flavor.
Take care to dry and store your herbs away from moisture and out of direct sunlight. With your stash of dried herbs handy year-round, you can make delicious sauces, dressings, marinades, tea, cocktails, and desserts.
*image by sokor/depositphotos