Due to using my herbs throughout the season I tend to not have a huge bunch left over at the end of the season.
To help pre-long their season so I can have herbs all year round, I like to dry them in the microwave to have full flavour herbs to use.
Microwaving your herbs will ensure that you have a nice full jar of herbs better than drying them in the oven or in the dehydrator.
To dry herbs in the microwave first wash and dry your herbs really well
To dry basil in the microwave:
- remove leaves from stems.
- Sandwich basil in a single layer between two pieces of paper towel.
Place in microwave for 30 seconds at medium to high power. NOTE: All microwaves are different – you don’t want to burn the basil, lower power and shorter time periods are best, use the setting that work best for your microwave. If you’re not sure, do a small batch to test results.
Take herbs out of the microwave and allow to cool for 30 seconds, then test to see if any are dry and brittle. Remove those that are, rotate those that aren’t and return them the microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat until all leaves are dry.
It took me around 90 seconds all up to dry them properly.
Allow basil to cool for an hour before storing in a paper bag or glass container. This allows them to cool thoroughly and avoids condensation build up in the storage container. Check the container for signs of condensation within the first 24 hours. Any moisture, will lead to mold, which will quickly destroy the entire batch!
Keep basil leaves as big as you can to retain maximum flavour. Crumble or crush them into the desired size when you’re ready to use the basil in your favorite recipe.
They can also be frozen for later use. Dried basil will last for about 6 months before the flavor starts to fade.
Mint has a lovely aroma and taste, and in its dried form, it can be used as a garnish, seasoning, or part of an herbal tea blend. Drying mint is fairly simple and there are a few different methods you can use to achieve the same result.
Wash and dry the mint by:
- Rinse each branch of mint in cold, running water.
- Dry them thoroughly using clean paper towels.
Then, lay out the mint in a single layer on a paper towel, Be sure that none of the mint is stacked.
Spread the mint leaves out on paper towel and on a microwave-safe plate. Keep them in a single layer, and do not let the leaves overlap.
By keeping the mint in a single layer, you can dry the leaves out faster and more evenly than you would be able to do if you piled the leaves inside a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave in 30 second intervals, again it took around 90 seconds for each batch to be completely dry.
Once cooled, transfer the mint into clean, airtight containers. Make sure that the containers are sealed as tightly as possible. Jars with tight lids is the best to keep the mint fresh and last.
Start by laying the herb foliage in a single layer on a paper towel, either on the oven proof plate or on the glass insert. Cover the leaves with another paper towel and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Then check the herbs, and if they are still soft, keep testing at 20- to 30-second intervals. Microwave ovens differ in power output, so you’ll have to experiment. Keep track of your results with each kind of herb.
Microwave drying is a bit easier on plant tissue than oven drying, because the water in the herb leaves absorbs more of the energy than the plant tissue does. The water in the leaves gets hot and evaporates – that’s why the paper towels get damp during the drying process- leaving drying plant tissue behind. The plant tissue heats up a little because of the contact with the water, but the water absorbs most of the heat
After the dried herbs have cooled, store them in air-tight containers away from heat and light. Keeps well for several months.
Don’t forget that to download your free conversion chart printable to help you in the kitchen no matter the recipe or country that you got it from.