Chamomile is an herb more commonly used in teas. It has a soothing and fragrant aroma and taste. It comes from a flower that looks like a small daisy.
It has a ton of health benefits like promoting sleep and aiding digestive health.
Chamomile tea is available almost anywhere. But, drying chamomile from home is something to consider since it’s very easy. It’ll also be possible to use dried chamomile in different recipes.
How to Dry Chamomile
Before drying, it’s important to prepare the flowers first. Here are the simple steps in preparing for the drying methods.
- Remove any rotten parts or insects from the flowers. Place the flowers on a baking sheet and try to shake it. This is an important step that takes a lot of time.
- Remove any unnecessary parts like the stem of leaves.
- If the flowers have been exposed to insecticides, it’s best to wash them. Soak the flowers in cold water. Spraying the flowers with water would also do. Only make sure to be extra careful not to destroy the flowers.
- Drain the flowers using a strainer.
- Place them on a towel and gently pat them dry.
- Skip washing the flowers if they were not exposed to chemicals. Getting them wet can promote mold growth.
Drying Chamomille: The Best Drying Methods
There are a number of ways to make dried chamomile. Here are the different methods.
Sun-drying is the easiest and cheapest way of drying chamomile. It only needs the power of the sun and a lot of patience. Here are the steps:
- Prepare sheets of newspaper, mesh screens, or bedsheets, depending on the volume of flowers to be dried.
- Lay the flowers on the sheets. Don’t overlap any of the flowers and leave about a centimeter of space between them.
- Place the sheets with the flowers in an area protected from harmful elements like the wind and pests.
- Leave it outside under the sun to dry for a week or so.
This method is easy, but it’s discouraged by many experts. The sun can strip off the flavor and color of the chamomile.
This is another method that’s economical and easy to do. The process is almost the same as the sun-drying method. Instead of placing the flowers under the sun, they’re placed indoors.
The best area for air-drying chamomile is in a low humidity room that’s warm and well-ventilated.
This can be tricky, though. A fluctuation in humidity and temperature can ruin the drying process. This puts the chamomile at risk of growing molds or housing pests.
Drying chamomile in the dehydrator
Using a dehydrator may not be the most cost and energy-efficient method. But, it’s the best way of drying chamomile. Here are the steps:
- Preheat the dehydrator to 95F to 115F (35C to 46C). The temperature may depend on the size and volume of the flowers.
- Lay a mesh liner on the dehydrator trays.
- Then, lay the flowers on the trays with mesh liner. Don’t overlap any flowers and leave spaces between them.
- Dry the flowers for a few hours. It may take about 1-4 hours depending on the flowers’ sizes and volume.
- Check the flowers every 30 minutes to check their progress.
The disadvantage of this method is that not all households have dehydrators. Buying one can be a good investment, but dehydrators don’t come cheap.
How to dry chamomile in the oven
Drying chamomile is also possible using an oven. Since most homes have an oven, this might be the best option next to using a dehydrator. Here are the steps to oven-dry chamomile:
- Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.
- Lay parchment paper on a large baking sheet.
- Scatter the flowers on the baking sheet. Lay them flat and not overlapping. Leave spaces between them.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven. Leave the door slightly open to let air circulate in the oven. This helps in drying out the chamomile faster.
- Check on the flowers every 30 minutes.
Using the oven can be risky. There’s a big chance that the chamomile will burn or get over-dried. Monitor the flowers regularly when using an oven to avoid over-drying.
How to dry chamomile in the microwave
When an oven or dehydrator is unavailable, using a microwave can be useful in drying chamomile. Follow these steps to dry chamomile in the microwave:
- Lay a few flowers on a piece of paper towel.
- Cover it with another piece of paper towel. The paper towels will help absorb moisture from the flowers.
- Make sure to not overlap any of the flowers for even drying.
- Heat the flowers in the microwave with 30-second intervals on the lowest heat setting.
- Check the flowers every 30 seconds to see if they’ve dried. The whole drying time may only take about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the flowers.
Using a microwave is best when drying a small batch of flowers. When drying a lot of flowers, it’s best to use a different method.
Storing Dried Chamomile
Use airtight containers when storing dried chamomile. This will prevent any moisture from ruining the chamomile. Also, store the containers in a dry place away from sunlight.
READ ALSO: How to Store Dried Herbs
Not properly storing them might cause molds to grow. When properly stored, the dried chamomile can last for several months up to a year. It’s also a good idea to label the container with the date when it was dried.
Remember to invest in high-quality containers. Make sure the containers are dry and disinfected as well to avoid any wastage.
There are many ways of drying chamomile. Choose the best drying method depending on the volume and environment.
Sun-drying and air-drying are best in warm areas with low humidity. Using dehydrators and oven-drying are great for drying a large number of flowers. Microwave-drying is useful for small batches.
No matter which method is used, proper storage is a must. Not storing them properly would only waste the time, energy, and effort put in drying the chamomile.