There is nothing like drying your own herbs for your home cooked meals. Whether you are adding your dried plants to sauces, soups, marinades or something else delicious, when you can use your own harvest it just tastes better.
When you are buying store bought dried herbs, there is really no telling how long they have been sitting on the shelf.
As time passes, they slowly lose their flavor. By drying your own, you know exactly how old they are, and if you grow them yourself, you know everything about them including what chemicals were used in the garden. How awesome is that?
Dehydrating herbs in the microwave is a fast and effective way of achieving the same results you would have if you were to hang or dehydrate your herbs, and we are going to share how to do it the proper way.
How To Dry Herbs In A Microwave
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to dehydrate herbs, whether you grow them yourself or you buy them from your local grocer, you will find that the microwave is a great option.
Which Herbs Dehydrate Best In The Microwave?
These will give you the best results from the drying process:
and you can try other plants to see the results.
What Do You Need To Dry Herbs In The Microwave?
You will need a microwave and a plate, paper towels, herbs and something to store them in afterwards.
How Long Do Herbs Take To Dry In A Microwave?
Different herbs take different amounts of time to completely dehydrate using this method; it depends on how delicate they are. The more delicate herbs, like basil and mint will take less time to dehydrate than say rosemary.
Here is a general rule of thumb for how long herbs take to dehydrate in a microwave (stems and all):
Herbs that take 30 - 45 seconds on high (full power):
Herbs that take 45 - 60 seconds to dry on high:
Herbs that take 60 - 90 seconds to dry on high:
How To Dry Herbs In The Microwave: STEPS
- Select the herbs you would like to dehydrate. Good choices include basil, oregano, and dill, but you can try any herb you would like. I would recommend taking the woody stem off if you have a herb such as rosemary.
- Wash your herbs and pat them clean with a paper towel. Leave them out to completely dry until the water evaporates. You don't want any water on your greenery before drying them in a microwave.
- Lay them out in a single layer on a paper towel or clean dish towel. You can fill it as long as you make sure they're not touching anything else and the herbs have adequate room between leaves.*Make sure you do one kind of herb at a time, ie: all of your basil, then another batch can have your mint...etc.
- Place the paper towel or towel containing the herbs into the microwave and set it on high power for 30 seconds. Check them and if they need to continue to dry out for a bit more, continue microwaving them in 15 second increments until they're completely dry. You will know they are totally dried and finished when they crumble easily.
- Once they are dry, remove them and store them in an airtight container. This can be a glass Mason jar or a Ziplock bag, and fill it up to the top if you can. I love putting chalkboard stickers on my Mason jars so I know what they each contain. They look great like this.
If you are looking for a tool to dehydrate herbs for a recipe using this method, (or if you are further interested in drying flowers and preserving their color for crafts and projects or including edible dried flowers in baking and recipes) we would like to recommend the Microfleur.
We have personally used the Microfleur to preserve flowers. It presses them and helps keep the color and it can be used for herbs as well.
Microwaving herbs is a quick and easy way to preserve them with zero waste.
There are other methods for drying herbs as well.
Other Ways To Dry Herbs
Hang Drying Herbs: Hanging herbs is a traditional method where you string your plants together and hang them upside down to dehydrate naturally. This method is the slower method of making dried herbs, however they do look gorgeous as they are drying, so you can include them in your kitchen décor.
Dehydrating Herbs: Using a dehydrator is an excellent method for making dried herbs. It uses low temperature heat with air circulation over several hours. This method is the most reliable and the most even dry you will get. You can also use a dehydrator for your flowers, fruit, vegetables and meat for your favorite recipe.
You can also dry herbs in an oven, but we find that you don't get the best results from oven-drying.
Which other herb drying method do you prefer?
Check out our article The Best Dehydrator for fruit if you are interested in purchasing a dehydrator yourself (and you can compare the models in that article with the ones in our article, Best Dehydrators For Making Jerky). The tips in these articles also applies to herbs and flowers in terms of choosing the best model.
Using A Dehydrator
You can also watch our quick review of the Cosori dehydrator on The Farmers Cupboard YouTube channel (please, subscribe!) and watch us make apple chips, pear chips, fruit leather and beef jerky:
There are many benefits to drying herbs. Drying herbs helps to keep (and actually strengthen) their flavor and aroma, and they can be stored for long periods of time.
Herbs that have been dried also take up less space than fresh herbs, so they are easier to transport and store.
Additionally, dehydrating your greenery is a great way to prepare them for use in a favorite recipe or as a decoration. Dried herbs tend to have more intense flavor than fresh herbs, just a fun fact for you!
Summary For How To Dry Herbs:
- When you buy dried spices at the store, there is really no telling how long they have been sitting on the shelf
- To dry herbs in the microwave, you will need a microwave and a microwave-safe plate or dish and paper towels
- Different plants take different amounts of time in a microwave, varying between 30 - 90 seconds on high once they are spread out
- Do the same variety together at a time in small batches
- After 30 seconds, check them every 15 seconds if you want them dryer
- Store dried herbs and spices in an air tight container and (here's a trick to keep the flavor longer) fill it to the top so there is less air in it
- They can also be dried by hanging upside down for several days, by being placed in a dehydrator or by using a Microfleur
- Drying helps to preserve flavor and aroma for recipes
- Dried out herbs have a stronger flavor than fresh herbs, meaning you won't need as much in the foods and meals you eat
- Use the dried form in any favorite recipe or grind them into powder to add to delicious dishes
Here are some other questions people are asking about preserving herbs in a microwave:
Is the microwave the fastest way to dehydrate herbs?
It's true, the microwave is the fastest way to dehydrate your fresh herbs. Second to that would be a dehydrator, followed by the hanging method. Each method of preserving plants gives varying results.
How do you dry your herbs naturally?
You can tie natural twine around a bundle of herbs and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place and they will naturally dry.
Is it safe to dry your herbs in the microwave?
It is completely safe to dry your herbs in a microwave. Not only is it safe, it is fast and convenient. Another really great way to preserve your plants is in a dehydrator. No matter which method you use, dehydrating your own greenery for recipes gives you fresh and easy results that are better than store bought.
Do you wash herbs before drying?
You should definitely wash your herbs before drying them, so long as they are completely dry before preserving them. Wash your herbs, pat them clean and let them dry the rest of the way naturally before microwaving them.
How long will dried herbs last?
Dried herbs have a shelf life of 3 years and as that time goes on they lost their flavor more and more. If you can preserve your own herbs, you know exactly how old they are and can accurately monitor their shelf life. Keep them in jars or in air sealed bags.
Wondering what else you can dehydrate for snacks, preserves and use as décor?
Which DEHYDRATOR is the BEST?? (article)
The BEST DEHYDRATOR (Check today's price!)
Here are some other resources you may be interested in:
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