Sage is a versatile herb but is especially popular with turkey and other kinds of poultry. It is also one of the herbs that are more useful when dried. If you have some fresh sage on hand, here are some of the best ways to dry it:
Using a food dehydrator
If you want a simple tool for drying sage that will give you a consistent product, you should invest in a food dehydrator.
Rinse the sage leaves and pat them dry. Place the leaves on the racks being careful to leave space between them and ensuring that they are not overlapping. Leaves too close together or lying on top of each other can keep your sage from drying consistently. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended settings for time and temperature. You will know that your sage leaves are completely dry when they crumble easily between your fingers.
You can dry sage the old-fashioned way as well. Make bundles of four to six sage stems tied together with twine or rubber bands and hang them in a location with high temperatures and moving air. Depending on the time of year, the best location for drying sage can be the attic or a covered porch. A room with a dehumidifier on is another good option.
Hang them with the leaves facing downward. To prevent mold growth and to capture any leaves that fall off, you can cover the bundles with paper bags or cheesecloth. If you use paper bags, punch some holes in them to ensure that air can pass through easily.
The oven is another great place to dry sage leaves. You will want to follow the same rules as with the other methods above. Start by rinsing and patting your sage leaves dry. Next, arrange them carefully on a cookie sheet. Make sure that there is space between the leaves and that they aren’t overlapping. Set the oven to its lowest setting and place the tray in.
From that point, there are a couple of ways that you can go. You can either heat the oven for about 15 minutes then turn it off and allow it to cool without removing the sage or you can leave the oven door cracked and keep the sage in for about half an hour.
Leaving the door open allows air to circulate and keeps the oven from getting too hot. Flip the leaves over at the halfway point to ensure even drying. Repeat the method for a shorter period if sage leaves don’t crumble easily. Both methods should leave you with perfectly dried sage leaves.
In the microwave
Microwaving your herbs is not the ideal drying method but it can work if you’re pressed for time. It also works best if you are working with a few leaves. The best way to do this is to remove the leaves from the stems and place them on a paper towel.
As with the other methods, you want them in a single layer not touching each other. If you are really in a hurry, you might not even need the paper towel. If your microwave turntable is clean and dry, just spread the sage leaves out there and start drying them. Microwave for about 30 seconds on high then open the door to let out the hot air and moisture and to flip the leaves. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Keep doing this until the leaves are completely dry.