Mint is a beautiful herb to have around your kitchen garden. The only problem with mint is that it has a short shelf life and doesn't keep well after being picked. Fortunately, there's an easy solution: dry it! This simple process will keep the delicate flavor intact while removing moisture from the fragrant leaves. Learn how to dry mint and go from fresh leaves to tea leaves in a short time.
Are you looking to make homemade mint tea and learn how to preserve your fresh herbs for a long time? Let's do this!
Why This Recipe Works
Drying mint is a great way to preserve it and bring it out of hibernation in the dead of winter. When dried, mint leaves can be used in cooking and baking and as a garnish for salads, soups, and stews.
Once dried out, the herb can be stored in airtight containers or a glass jar until you're ready to use them again (or gift them as gifts). This article will explain how to dry mint using a food dehydrator so you can enjoy this healthy treat all year!
Mint smells fresh, clean, and piquant. Peppermint is a hybrid plant, a product of water mint and spearmint. Most people cook with spearmint because of peppermint's more pungent, peppery taste and scent. Other types of mint include spearmint, chocolate mint, and apple mint.
- Use fresh mint leaves. It's best to use fresh mint leaves in your dehydrating process. If you have access to a food processor, chop them well before dehydrating them.
- If you have mint plants as I do, feel free to snip whole mint sprigs but make sure to work in small bunches unless you know you have enough trays.
- Remember that different herbs need different drying times. Mint is one of those herbs that will dry quickly.
- You may want to check on it occasionally during its drying period, as some parts may be ready before others are finished drying out completely.
How to Dry Mint
Harvest, wash, and prepare herbs
The first thing to do with your mint harvest is to remove any brown or wilted leaves. Then strip the leaves from their stems, and give them a quick rinse in plenty of water.
Pick individual stems with four or five leaves per stem. If they're small enough to fit on your countertop (and not too wet), gently wash them with water before drying them off completely. If not, place them in a colander or salad spinner so they'll drain while being dried out by the sun or heat source.
After that, drying them is a piece of cake.
How to Dry Mint Leaves
How to dry mint in a food dehydrator
set the temperature to 95 degrees F. Make sure to spread them out on a dehydrator tray in a single layer. Every couple of hours, check and make sure they're not drying out too much.
Remove one of them from the tray and break off a little piece of it with your fingers (don't worry if they're dry enough yet).
If it's still pliable, let them continue drying until they become crispy and brittle—this should take upwards of 4-5 hours but can last as little as two, depending on the weather, humidity, and moisture content of the leaves.
Hang dry bunches
To dry mint leaves, bundle together about four to eight stems, strip the leaves from the bottom, and wrap them with a rubber band or string. Place some holes in the bottom of these bundles in a paper bag for good airflow. Make sure the stems protrude out, tie them closed around the stems, and hang them in a warm, dry spot.
Remove the leaves from the stems. Spread leaves in a single layer on a sheet tray or drying screen—place in a warm area that is dark until completely dry.
Oven Dried Mint
You only need a baking sheet and your oven for dry mint leaves! Gas ovens work great for this method. Spread the leaves out so they are not touching or overlapping. Separate each layer with a paper towel—leave overnight to completely dry.
Place your leaves on a screen, a sheet of glass, or an old window, as the temperature must be constant with low humidity (lower than 100 degrees F and below 60% humidity). Avoid direct sunlight because leaves will fade. Dry until leaves can easily be crumbled – any longer than necessary will cause the leaves to turn yellow.
When you're happy with how dry they are, take them out and store them in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.
Store in an airtight container in a dry and dark place. Keep out of direct sunlight and heat. Keep out moisture, too—you don't want to experience moldy mint!
How to use Dried Mint
Dried mint is a useful ingredient to have in your pantry. We use dried mint in lamb dishes like Middle Eastern lamb kofta. You can use it in all of the following ways:
It can be a stomach soother, a palette cleanser, and is great in tea! Just add a teaspoon of it to a tea strainer mug and add hot water. Use it as an ingredient for lemonade or tea during the summer months; crumble up a few leaves for each drink you make.
Add dried mint leaves to baked goods, such as cookies and cakes. It's particularly good with fruit-based desserts like peach cobbler or apple pie!
- 1 bunch of herbs
- water for rinsing
- To dry mint in a food dehydrator, set the temperature to 95 degrees F. Every couple of hours, check and make sure they're not drying out too much.
- Remove one of them from the tray and break off a little piece of it with your fingers (don't worry if they're dry enough yet).
- If it's still pliable, let them continue drying until they become crispy and brittle—this should take upwards of 4-5 hours but can as little as two, depending on the weather, humidity, and moisture content of the leaves.
- When you're happy with how dry they are, take them out and store them in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.