Mint is one of the world’s most popular herbs but may not be available year-round in many places. As a result, you will need to preserve it. There are several ways to do this but drying tends to be the most practical. You can use dried mint as a seasoning and as a tea herb. Here are some of the best ways to dry mint for the best flavor:
In all cases, you will want to work with mint that has been washed and dried off by patting it dry with a paper towel or leaving it on a flat surface so that water on the surface can evaporate.
The classic way to dry herbs is to hang them up. Air-drying requires no appliances or equipment except for twine or rubber bands. All you need is a location with high temperatures and good air circulation.
Tie the mint into bundles of five or six sprigs that you hang in an attic or on a porch. It is a good idea to place a paper bag over the bundle to catch leaves that fall off as well as to limit the mint leaves’ exposure to mold spores. Punch holes in the paper bag to ensure that air can pass through it. The drawback of air-drying is that it is not the fastest method and can take two to four weeks to completely dry the mint.
One of the fast ways to dry mint is to use the oven to do it. Your oven can provide higher temperatures than you would get by air-drying, so it will be considerably faster.
Place the mint sprigs or individual leaves on a cookie sheet. Lay them flat and in a single layer. Next, heat your oven to its lowest setting, This is usually 180 or 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cookie sheet with the mint leaves into the oven for about 15 minutes. Leave the oven door cracked two or three inches. This allows air to circulate and keeps the oven from getting too hot.
After 15 minutes, flip the mint leaves over and leave them for an additional 15 minutes before turning the oven off. Leave them in until they cool.
Dry in the microwave
One of the fastest ways to dry mint leaves is to do it in the microwave. Another benefit of drying mint in the microwave is that it can help to preserve the herb’s appearance. Spread the sprigs or individual leaves out on a paper plate or paper towel. You can even do it right on the surface of your microwave’s turntable if it is clean and dry.
Microwave on high for a minute, open the microwave for a minute to let the moist air out. Flip the mint before microwaving again for another minute. Let it rest in the microwave for a few minutes and then remove. Your mint should be perfectly dried at this point. If it isn’t, microwave again in short bursts until the leaves crumble easily.
Use a food dehydrator
Because they are designed specifically to dry out herbs like mint and other foods, food dehydrators are the most reliable option on this list. The appliance provides the necessary heat along with rapidly moving air, so it can do an excellent job of preserving the essential oils that give mint its flavor. Lay the leaves in a single layer on the trays and follow the instructions for drying herbs.