Oven Dried Peppermint


I have several patches of peppermint growing at home and though I occasionally use it for tea, most of it is now been delegated for use in my handmade mint soap. It's merrily prolific but downright invasive so I try to keep it growing in containers for the most part. All the better because when this herb gets going it can take over your garden like a wave washing over the shore.

Though mint is lovely to use when it's fresh - especially in tasty treats like Mojitos - it's more useful to me when it's dried. Using fresh botanicals and juices in soap is always risky since it can tend to go off, leaving the soap rancid and unpleasant. However in it's dried form, Peppermint gives a lovely natural colour and intense concentration of natural oils and scent.



Drying peppermint is easy, whether you too want to use it in your own beauty products or simply to have some on hand for culinary purposes. First you have to grow it and a lot of it. There's a good deal of moisture in mint leaves so the drying process will leave you with much less than you started with. For comparison, look at the top image in this post to see how much fresh mint was needed to get the amount of dried mint you see in the below image. I'd estimate that it reduces down to around 1/8th the original size and maybe even a little less than that.

After you've gathered a sizeable amount make sure to wash and dry it thoroughly. Then lay it over a lined baking sheet and heat it into the oven at 80°C/175°F until you're sure it's completely dry. It takes about an hour with a convection oven but can take over double that time with a conventional appliance. The mint will initially wilt and lie in sodden heaps on the tray so if you turn the mint over a few times during the drying process you can reduce the time somewhat.


Though you can remove the leaves from the stems before drying I don't really bother. The softer stems can easily be crumbled into usable pieces so definitely leave those in even if you've opted to remove some of the woodier bits. And if you're using the dried mint for tea you can even pulse those with a hand blender and then mix it in with the crumbled leaves. Store your dried herbs in dark, dry containers and they'll be good for at least a year.


17 comments:

  1. I might try this Tanya - I have loads of the stuff growing in my garden and - yes - you are quite right, if you let it it will take over the whole garden.

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    1. It's a lovely herb but I think there can be too much of it... It really loves our cool wet climate and does seem to take advantage if you turn your back on it! Good luck with drying some yourself Pat :)

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  2. Mint grows wild around our spring and it is nice to walk through it as it fills the air with the wonderful smell. It is hard to kill though our patch has moved around the building because a tree is shading the original patch now. Have you ever used blackberry leaves for tea? They are good and a medicine as well.

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    1. That's a really lovely mental image Sunnybrook :) Do you know what type of mint it is?

      I've never used Blackberry leaves for tea before - does it taste nice? I'll have to look up their medicinal qualities.

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  3. I'm drinking home-dried peppermint tea right now actually, I use a dehydrator, or just air dry if the weather isn't too humid. Drying makes it easier to take it to work.

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    1. Ideally I'd love to dry mint in the air or in a solar dehydrator - so much more energy efficient. Unfortunately we don't really get much heat this far north and herbs can tend to go mouldy using air drying methods. I suppose suspending small bunches of them over a radiator (if they're on) or using an electric dehydrator are some other ways to dry it for us. I really wish we had your Australian heat sometimes :)

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  4. I can only imagine how heavenly the house smells using that method! Sounds easy.
    We live in Sahara like conditions---a day or two hanging from a clothesline in my garage does the trick.....but, are the mice enjoying it? I think I'll try it YOUR way. Have a great weekend, Tonya!
    :)

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    1. Mint drying on the line...you should get a picture of that! :) I may have to try that if we get a few hot days this summer - it's back to raining for now and apparently we're due a 'British Monsoon' next week. Joy.

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    2. And do you think mice would really get on the line? Oh dear! Have a great weekend too Sue :) Xx

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  5. I use a dehydrator for drying herbs, I also dry Rosella's and use them for making a delicious tea. Herb Robert is another favourite after reading of the huge health benefits of using it fresh or dried and used as a tea. I also love the Wild Flower post, very beautiful.

    Shirley http://themakingofparadise.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. We've got plenty of Herb Robert but making it into tea has honestly never occurred to me. I've just had a peek online and it seems it has cancer-fighting properties - thanks for the tip and I'll definitely give it a go! Have a nice weekend Shirley :)

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  6. Hello Tanya!

    Thank you very much for the tip. I have a lot of peppermint growing in the garden and this is a quick way of dealing with the amount I'm going to cut away.

    Regards
    Garden Chair

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  7. I've never dried my mint in the oven...I tend to just hang bunches in the kitchen...this does seem quicker though...can you dry all herbs this way??

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  8. Tanya, you are really very skilled at such crafts... hmmm, I salute you...

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  9. Since my husband is allergic, I'll stick to the oven method, which I can do while he is at work. Thanks for the tip.

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