Mint has grown up our garden wall for several years now. I didn't plant it there, it just appeared somehow.
It was only recently, when a friend asked if we had any mint tea, that I thought of using it to make a drink.
I have 'ungreen' fingers. The very fact that it grows so profusely in my garden tells me that it must be very easy to grow!
I've discovered that Mint grows like a weed. You have to be very careful where you plant it so that it doesn't take over. Growing it in a pot is best.
Herbs are best used fresh, but fresh isn't always possible. I have enjoyed having mint tea this spring and summer and would like to carry on drinking it throughout the year. So I wondered if I could dry it and therefore preserve it?
It turns out you can dry mint yourself pretty easily, and here is the method in a nutshell:
You can dry mint leaves in your microwave by spacing them out on a plate and cooking on high for 10 seconds. Repeat this until the leaves crumble easily in your hand. In total, it should take about 60 seconds.
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Why microwaves are great for drying herbs
Microwaves work by heating up the water inside the food, causing it to evaporate. Ovens cook by creating heat around the food. This means that microwaves can cook food more quickly and efficiently than traditional ovens. Herbs can be dried in an ordinary oven. But when they are dried in a microwave, they retain their color and taste much more.
How to dry mint leaves in the microwave
Drying mint in your microwave is very quick and easy. You can use this same method for other types of herbs too, such as rosemary and sage.
Here are some pro-tips for the best results:
- The best time to harvest your mint is before it starts to flower because the flavor is most intense at that time.
- Pick your mint when it is dry and after any morning dew has evaporated.
- If you purchased your mint at a supermarket, wash it before use and make sure it is completely dry before you put it in the microwave.
- Remove the stalks before you dry your mint.
Things you will need to dry mint in the microwave
- Microwave-proof dish or paper towel.
- Glass storage jar or food bag.
- Put the leaves on a dish or paper towel Lay out the mint leaves on your dish or paper towel. Space them out and avoid overlapping.
- Microwave in 10 second bursts Microwave on high for 10 seconds and then check the leaves to see if they crumble easily. If not, continue cooking at 10 second intervals until they are fully dry. I found in my particular microwave it took a total of 60 seconds.
- Crush Optionally, use a pestle and mortar to grind the leaves into a powder or crush with your hand to turn into mint flakes. If you used a paper towel to bake them on, simply crush them inside the paper towel.
- Store Store your dried mint leaves in an airtight container, or a food bag and seal.
Here's a useful video I found.
- Can You Dry Socks In a Microwave?
- How To Clean A Microwave With An Orange (and no scrubbing)
- How To Clean A Microwave With Just Water (no scrubbing)
- How To Defrost a Whole Chicken Fast! (yes you can do it in a microwave!)
How to store dried mint
Your dried mint is best stored in an airtight glass container, or a sealed freezer bag. Once dried, mint will keep for up to twelve months.
Store your mint in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
How to know you have dried your mint enough
It's important that all the water from the leaves is removed before you store it, otherwise it will start to go moldy, and you will have to throw it away.
If you are not sure whether your mint leaves are thoroughly dry, here's an easy trick to use:
- Add your dried mint leaves to a jar, allowing some space on the top.
- Shake the jar once a day for the next week.
- As you shake the jar, the flakes should move freely. If any flakes stick to the sides, there is moisture present.
- If you find evidence of moisture, repeat the drying process.
How to dry fresh mint leaves in an oven
Microwaving your mint is quick and easy, but if you don't keep an eye on it, the leaves can easily burn and spoil. Drying mint in the oven takes a bit longer, but it is less prone to error.
- Preheat your oven to 140 °F or 60 °C. You don't need much heat, 140 °F or 60 °C should be enough. If you don't have a fan oven, increase the heat to 180 °F/80 °C.
- Lay out the mint leaves on a baking sheet. Arrange your mint leaves on a baking sheet, allowing space around each leaf.
- Bake. Place the baking sheet in the oven and then switch off the heat. After ten minutes, check on the leaves. If they crumble easily in your hand, they are done. If not, continue baking for another five minutes and so on until they crumble easily.Pro-tip: If your oven gets a bit steamy, leave the door slightly ajar to allow the steam to escape as the leaves dry.
- Cool and store. Let the leaves cool on the baking sheet. Then crush them. You can do this with a pestle and mortar to make a powder, or you can add all the leaves to a freezer bag and crush them by scrunching up the bag. Then transfer the dried leaves to an airtight container or simply store them in the bag you crushed them in. Store in a cool and dry place away from sunlight.
How to make mint tea with dried mint leaves
Enjoying mint tea all year round was my number one reason for drying herbs.
Here's how to make mint tea with dried herbs:
- Add one teaspoon of dried mint leaves to your teapot or infuser.
- Boil some water in your kettle or in a saucepan.
- Pour on the hot water.
- Allow to steep for five minutes.
- Remove the infuser or use a tea strainer to pour the mint tea into your cup.
Frequently asked questions
How do you dry mint leaves quickly?
The quickest way to dry mint leaves is in your microwave. Make sure your mint is dry. Lay the leaves out on a kitchen towel and then cook on high in ten seconds intervals until you can crumble them easily.
What are the benefits of drinking mint tea?
I love to drink mint tea. According to Healthline, drinking mint tea is great for digestion and brain function. It can also help relieve symptoms of a cold.
How long does dried mint last?
Mint that has dried thoroughly should last for 1 to 2 years. Keep your mint in a cool and dry environment to make it last longer.
When is the best time to harvest mint for drying?
A good time to pick your fresh mint is before the flowering season, which is late spring. At this time, the oils in the leaves are at their most intense and so will have the best flavor possible when dried.
Pick the leaves in the morning before the sun has a chance to evaporate the oils. Always pick the best-looking leaves.
How much dried mint to use in cooking?
As a rule of thumb, use one-third of the amount of dried mint that you would normally use fresh. So, if the recipe calls for 15g, or a tablespoon of fresh mint, use 1 teaspoon of dried, which is about 5g.
Can you freeze mint instead of drying it?
Before I knew how to dry mint quickly in the microwave, I would often freeze it, and that absolutely works too. Once mint has defrosted it is wilted, so it's not so great for garnishing food but still great for use in cooking and mint tea.