Here is everything you need to know about drying fresh herbs in the oven!
If you love herbs, you probably know that drying fresh herbs is the best way to preserve them. This article will discuss the step-by-step process of drying herbs in an oven. This is a relatively simple process that anyone can do.
How to dry fresh herbs in the oven – a quick summary
- Wash your herbs.
- Place the fresh herbs on a baking sheet and set the oven to the lowest possible temperature.
- Dry for about 2 hours, check on the herbs every 30 minutes or so, and remove them from the oven once they are completely dry.
- Once dried, herbs can be stored in an airtight container and used as needed.
How to Dry Fresh Herbs in the Oven
Why Dry Fresh Herbs in an Oven?
Drying fresh herbs in ovens is a simple and effective way to preserve them for future use. The main benefit of this method is that it prevents the loss of essential oils, which are responsible for the herb’s flavor and aroma.
Additionally, oven-drying helps to retain the herb’s color and texture as much as possible. It’s a simple process, and here is a quick breakdown of the process, which we will go into in more detail later.
Is the Process the Same for All Fresh Herbs?
The process of drying herbs in ovens is not precisely the same for all herbs.
Different herbs have different moisture contents and oil contents. This means that some herbs will dry better in the oven than others.
Some good herbs for oven-drying include
Some herbs that don’t dry well (simply because they don’t retain flavor well) include chives, parsley, and tarragon.
For example, basil has a high moisture content but is pretty fragile, so it won’t take as long to dry in an oven on a low setting. Rosemary, on the other hand, has a high oil content, so it is best to dry it on the same low-temperature setting but over a longer period of time.
With a little trial and error, you should be able to dial in the perfect timing for drying any fresh herb. For the purposes of this guide, however, the process is generally the same, with the only difference being in the overall time it takes for the herbs to dry completely.
What You’ll Need
The most important tool you’ll need is an oven-safe baking dish. A glass or metal pan will work, but make sure it has low sides so that the heat can circulate evenly. You’ll also need a rack that fits inside the pan—this will help to ensure that the herbs are not in direct contact with the hot surface of the pan. If you don’t have a wire rack that fits inside your pan, parchment paper can be used instead.
The Process of Drying Fresh Herbs in the Oven
The process of drying fresh herbs in the oven is simple and only requires a few steps.
- First, harvest your herbs by pinching them off or cutting them below where the stem meets the leaf itself. For herbs like rosemary, thyme, and dill, you can harvest the entire stem.
If the weather outside is cooling down, you may need to harvest your entire herb garden to preserve the herbs for later use. Otherwise, once you have a good amount of herbs, it’s time to wash them.
- Rinse them thoroughly under cool water and then shake off any excess moisture. It’s crucial that you wash your herbs first to remove any dirt or debris before drying. If you skip this step, it will be next to impossible to remove the dirt from your dried herbs.
- Then, spread the herbs onto your wire rack or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that you arrange them in a single layer. If you stack herbs on top of one another, they will dry unevenly, resulting in an inconsistent finished product that won’t last as long.
- After that, place the baking sheet of herbs into a preheated oven set to the lowest temperature (usually between 150–200 degrees Fahrenheit). The key to successful oven drying is low heat over an extended period of time (approximately two to four hours).
- Some people like to leave the oven slightly open for better air circulation. However, this will also cause the drying process to take a little bit longer.
- Check on your herbs every 30 minutes or so until completely dry. You’ll know they are finished when they still have some color and easily crumble.
Once dried, you can break up the dried herbs into smaller pieces for easier storage.
Finally, store the dried herbs in an airtight container to enjoy them throughout the year.
How to Store Dried Herbs
Here are a few tips to help you keep your dried herbs fresh and flavorful.
- First, try to dry only what you will use within a few months. Herbs lose their potency over time, so it’s best to only dry as much as you need or as much as you expect to use over the course of a year.
- Second, store your herbs in a cool, dark place. Heat and light will cause the herbs to lose their flavor more quickly.
- Third, make sure the storage container is airtight. Exposure to the air can make the herbs go stale.
- Fourth, if possible, store your herbs in whole form rather than ground. Ground herbs lose their flavor more quickly than whole leaves.
Drying fresh herbs in ovens is a quick and easy way to preserve them for later use. With just a few simple steps, you can have a bountiful supply of dried herbs to add flavor to all your favorite dishes.