How to Dehydrate Herbs in the Oven (with Pictures)

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How to Dehydrate Herbs in the Oven (with Pictures)
How to Dehydrate Herbs in the Oven (with Pictures)

Herb gardens are a great idea to have around the house, and fresh herbs are always available at supermarkets and fairs. Want to dehydrate yours? Try using the oven. You might spoil the taste of the plants if you end up roasting too long, but this is a pretty quick method. In addition, it is a good option for those who live in wetter areas and cannot dehydrate them naturally. Ready to get started? First, gather and prepare your fresh herbs. After dehydration, store them in a closed container.


Part 1 of 4: Gathering Herbs for Dehydration

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 1

Step 1. Harvest the herbs when they are very soft, before the flowers form

The flavor of the herbs will depend on when you cut them from the plant. The best flavor is always obtained when they are still soft – try touching them with your fingers to test them. If they are blooming, the best time is well before the buds open.

  • Of course, you can still dehydrate herbs that have already bloomed, but be prepared for a more bitter taste.
  • This process works for all herbs. If yours have already bloomed, you can just remove the flowers so that more leaves will grow – from there, you can pick and dehydrate them.
Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 2

Step 2. Choose a warm, dry morning after the dew has evaporated

A sunny day is the best time to harvest the plants as they will be drier. The more moisture they have, the harder it will be to dehydrate them. Nobody wants an extra job, right?

Wait until mid-morning, after the dew has completely disappeared

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 3

Step 3. Cut the stalks with scissors just above the leaves

Use regular or pruning scissors. Put the cut herbs in a jar of clean water until you finish harvesting.

Leave 10 to 15 cm from the stalk for the plant to grow again

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 4

Step 4. Pluck large leaf herbs from the stalk before dehydrating

Examples like this are sage or mint. If it's easier to just hold the leaves, then it's better to remove them from the stalk before dehydrating.

You can also cut the leaves off the stalk with scissors, but the process will take a little longer

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 5

Step 5. Remove herbs with small, feathery leaves from the stalks only after dehydrating them

This includes fennel, dill and rosemary. In most cases they will be removed from the stalks, but it is better to wait to pull them out after they are dehydrated as it is easier to handle them with the stalks.

Also, some dishes can look better with the herbs still on the stalks

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 6

Step 6. Harvest one herb at a time

It's easy to mix up a bunch of herbs or spoil their flavor by dehydrating them together. To protect the flavor, dehydrate only one at a time.

Part 2 of 4: Preparing the Herbs

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 7

Step 1. Pluck out damaged, spoiled or imperfect leaves or stalks

Take a good look at each leaf or stalk for any damaged parts. The spoiled herbs will have a bad taste, which can end up ruining the dish you season with them.

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 8

Step 2. Check for bugs

Insects are common in an herb garden, but of course you don't want them to get among your dried herbs, do you? Then, carefully analyze each leaf to see if there are any visible signs of insects, such as crawling bugs, webs or white marks, which could be eggs. If you see these signs, throw them away.

The oven will treat anything too small that is left in the herbs

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 9

Step 3. Wash with cold water and shake off excess

The best option is to use running water so that all dirt and debris are removed. Let the water hit the seedlings for a few seconds, then shake them gently to expel excess water. After that, just put the wet herbs on a dry towel.

If you have larger herbs, you can wash them in a colander

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 10

Step 4. Dry with a clean towel

Use another dry towel and press it gently over the herbs. When they are dry, transfer them to another dry towel or dish.

Part 3 of 4: Dehydrating Herbs

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 11

Step 1. Cover a baking sheet with muslin or vellum

This is the best surface for dehydrating plants, but you can also leave the pan or pan unlined. Depending on their size, you can also use a grid with tightly knit bars.

If using the rack, place it on top of the baking sheet to prevent the bits of herbs from falling into the oven

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 12

Step 2. Place the herbs on the baking sheet in a single layer

Do not leave any leaves overlapping or touching the others as they may not dehydrate evenly. If that's the case, the entire batch can go bad, as the centers of the leaves will burn if you try to finish dehydrating the edges that are still wet.

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 13

Step 3. Light the oven at the lowest temperature

Excessive dehydration can destroy the taste, color and oils of the plants, so it is important to keep the temperature low. The process must be slow to keep the herbs edible.

Do not exceed a temperature of 80°C

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 14

Step 4. Leave the oven door open if it is electric

Air needs to circulate around the seedlings as they dehydrate – the open door allows this circulation. It also reduces the risk of getting too hot and burning plants.

If you have a gas oven, do not leave the door open as it can be very dangerous. Open the door every five minutes to let the air circulate. Then wait 30 seconds and close again

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 15

Step 5. Turn the herbs after half an hour

Use a kitchen glove to remove the baking sheet from the oven. With a tongs or fork, turn them so that both sides dehydrate equally.

Check the process every 15 minutes to see if it's not burning. If you suspect this, remove them from the oven early to see if they are already dehydrated

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 16

Step 6. Remove the herbs from the oven after an hour

Most of them will dehydrate in this time. If you're not sure, let it cool and check the progress.

If they are not already dehydrated, continue the process for ten minutes at a time

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 17

Step 7. Test to see if they are ready

Leaves must be very dry and brittle. Take a leaf or a stalk to see if they crumble easily between your fingers. Gently place the herb between your fingers and massage to see if it decays. If so, then you are already dehydrated.

Part 4 of 4: Storing the Herbs

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 18

Step 1. Crumble the entire batch of herbs

It is common to crumble before storing the dehydrated plants, making it easier to add them to the dishes. Just rub the herb between your fingers, breaking the leaves well. Continue until each piece is crumbly.

If the leaves are still on the stalk, do not crumble the stalk itself. Keep it intact and throw it away only after removing the leaves

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 19

Step 2. Place the herbs in a closed container

You can use a glass bottle, Tupperware, or a ziploc-type plastic bag. But the container must be closed, as moisture can spoil the herbs.

Dry Herbs in the Oven Step 20

Step 3. Store container in a cool, dry area

Good options include a pantry, a closet, or a refrigerator. Place the herbs that have just been dehydrated along with the rest of the spices.

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