Mint has a very pleasant taste and aroma and, when dehydrated, can be used as a garnish, spice or part of a mixed herbal tea. Dehydrating mint is relatively easy, but there are a few different methods you can use to achieve the same result.
Method 1 of 7: Preparing the Mint
Step 1. Harvest the mint
Any type of mint will be ready to be picked just before reaching the flowering stage. Cut the mint in the morning, after the dew has dried, using a pruner or a sharp knife.
- Cut about a third of the main stem of the mint. With that, the plant will have enough strength to grow again.
- Cutting the mint just before it blooms will preserve its aroma and flavor as this is the time in your growing cycle when you have the greatest amount of essential oil.
- Gently shake each branch after cutting it to remove any insects that might be hiding.
Step 2. Wash and dry the mint
Rinse each sprig of mint under cold running water. Dry it completely using paper towels and/or a salad centrifuge. The mint should be completely dry before you start.
- Rub the paper towel in the mint to dry any that have visible water. Then place it on another sheet of paper towel and let the leaves and stems dry for another hour or two.
- If using a salad centrifuge, place the mint sprigs inside it and dry off excess water by rotating the appliance. You should continue to leave the mint on paper towels after that so that the drying process can continue for another hour or two.
Step 3. Think about separating the leaves from the stalks
The only method that requires the leaves to be attached to the stalks is natural drying or outdoor drying. For everyone else, you should take the leaves off before drying them, as this will make the process easier.
- Simply peel the sheets off with your fingers. You can also cut them with a sharp knife.
- Inspect the leaves to see if they are damaged or diseased while removing them. Throw away the bad leaves and leave all the good ones.
Method 2 of 7: Dehydrating Outdoors
Step 1. Bundle the mints
Separate them into small branches and tie them together using culinary string or strong yarn.
Make sure you secure the branches at the height of the stem, leaving as many leaves exposed to the air as possible
Step 2. Hang the mints to dry in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area
Tie the other end of the string to a hanger or clothesline and place them in a cool, well-ventilated room with low light. Hang the mints upside down.
- A spare bedroom or kitchen with curtains will be great for doing this. However, if you don't have a room that doesn't look dark enough, there is the possibility of placing a paper bag over the mint, securing it so that the mint doesn't suffocate.
- The room must have a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius.
- Hanging the mint upside down will force the flavor and aroma oils into the leaves rather than accumulating on the stems.
Step 3. Take the leaves off the stalks
After a week or two, the mint should be dehydrated. Detach it and remove the leaves from the stalks. Clean them with a paper towel.
- Hold the tip of the stem with one hand.
- Run your other hand along the stem. Leaves should come out without any difficulty. Even so, you may have to remove the top sheets separately.
Method 3 of 7: Part Three: Dehydrating by microwave
Step 1. Spread the mint leaves across the microwave dish
Arrange them only on one layer and do not place them on top of each other.
By leaving the mints in a single layer, you'll be able to dehydrate the leaves much faster than placing them stacked inside a microwave-safe pot
Step 2. Warm up at 10 second intervals
Load the leaves and heat them for 10 seconds at a time, always checking to see if they start to curl or get hard. Mint should be properly dehydrated within 15 to 45 seconds.
- Ideally, the leaves remain green. You can use them if they turn brown, but green leaves will taste and smell better.
- If you place a pile of mint leaves on a plate instead of putting them in a single layer in the microwave, you will need to stir them every 30 seconds and heat them for a total of 1 to 3 minutes. This tactic is not ideal and some leaves may not be dehydrated.
Method 4 of 7: Oven Dehydrating
Step 1. Preheat your stove to 60 degrees Celsius
Basically you need to preheat your stove to the lowest possible temperature.
The temperature needs to be very low. High temperatures can quickly dry out the mints without overpowering them with aroma and flavor. Do not heat to a temperature above 93 degrees Celsius
Step 2. Turn off the stove
After it has preheated for 5 minutes, turn it off.
Again, this is done in this way so that the mint can dehydrate without losing the oils responsible for its flavor and aroma, which is not possible with excessive heat
Step 3. Spread the sheets on a tray
Arrange them in just one layer and avoid overlapping them or leaving them together.
- If the leaves are on top of each other or leaning against each other, some of them may not dehydrate completely. Consequently, you may find leaves that have burned and others that are still wet.
- Likewise, you should perform this process with similarly sized sheets. If they vary widely in size, some may dehydrate faster than others.
- You don't need to put anything on the tray before adding the mints, but if you wish, use a sheet of parchment paper. Do not use cook spray.
Step 4. Dehydrate the leaves on a stove with a medium temperature
Put the mints in the oven and leave them for 5 to 10 minutes. Check every 5 minutes that they are getting dehydrated properly.
The leaves will be dehydrated when they begin to curl and harden. Despite this, they must remain green. Watching them often can keep them from turning brown
Method 5 of 7: Using a Food Dehydrator
Step 1. Spread the mint leaves across the dehydrator tray in a single layer, avoiding overlapping them
Mint leaves will dehydrate more evenly if they are laid out in a single layer, so that each leaf will receive the same amount of heat as the others. Sheets that are stacked will need to be moved during the process. Some leaves may finish dehydrating before others
Step 2. Set the dehydrator to the lowest temperature
Place the tray back in the dehydrator and switch the instrument to the lowest available setting.
- A little heat is enough to dehydrate mints and other similar herbs.
- If your dehydrator doesn't have a thermostat, you should check the device often to prevent the leaves from burning.
- Take out any trays that are not needed before starting. By doing this, there will be more room for larger leaves and air circulation.
Step 3. Continue the process until they are dehydrated
Check mints every 5 minutes or less. Remove them from the device as soon as they are dehydrated.
Leaves should remain green after they harden and their edges curl
Method 6 of 7: Dehydrating with a dehumidifier
Step 1. Turn on the dehumidifier
If you have a dehumidifier, the characteristics of the air around it will be ideal for dehydrating mint quickly. Turn on the dehumidifier and use it as you normally would.
The dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, drying out the air around it. This is great, as dehydrating mint in damp environments can cause mold to develop
Step 2. Place the mint on a cooling rack
Spread the leaves on a cooling rack for cakes and cookies. Arrange the leaves in only one layer and avoid placing them on top of each other as much as possible.
A cooling shelf is ideal as air can circulate at both the base and the top of the shelf. This is another feature that can prevent mold
Step 3. Dehydrate the mint with a dehumidifier
Place the cooling shelf in front of the dehumidifier, directly facing the point on the machine where the air appears to be warmest and driest. Leave the mint there for a day or two until it becomes dehydrated.
- The leaves should start to harden and become curved, but continue with their green color.
- You can usually tell the hottest spot on the dehumidifier by simply running your hand around the machine.
Method 7 of 7: Storing Dehydrated Mint
Step 1. Place the mint in clean, well-sealed pots
Stack all the mint leaves into a small pot. Close them tightly.
- Glass jars with lids, plastic jars, airtight plastic bags and vacuum packaging bags are some of the best options.
- Label each container with the current date, the contents of the bag, and the amount in it.
- If possible, store the mint with the leaves intact and break them up as soon as you use them instead of before putting them away. The flavor and aroma will last longer if they are whole.
Step 2. Check for moisture
Keep an eye on the mint for the first few days. If any kind of moisture appears, you will need to dehydrate the mint longer.
- Simply remove the mint and dehydrate it again using one of the processes listed above.
- Mint, like other herbs, develops mold quickly if not stored in a dry environment.
Step 3. Store in a cool, dry and dark place
To enjoy the best flavor of mint, consume it within a year.