When drying herbs, people don’t usually think of using the microwave. The most common methods of drying herbs is by air drying, using the oven, or using a dehydrator. It’s not as common, but using a microwave to dry your mint herbs is a great idea, especially if you’re short on time.
The best part is how quickly this can be done. Traditional methods can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Drying in the microwave takes just 2 minutes.
Below, I walk you through why you might want to dry mint leaves and the different methods of drying them before describing exactly how to use a microwave to dry mint leaves and how to store your dried leaves.
Why Dry Mint Leaves?
There are a lot of great reasons to dry mint leaves. Mint can be used for so many great things. If you keep stores of dry mint, you’ll always have the herb available for your needs.
The most common use for dried mint is for cooking. Many people use peppermint, spearmint, and orange mint leaves in their dishes. Mint leaves are also very popular for making tea.
People also love the scent of mint, so they will dry leaves to use around their house. The leaves can be used as potpourri, placed in a bowl or a cloth satchel around the house.
Although we as humans love the scent of mint, pests like bugs and rodents hate it. For this reason, many people will use dried mint leaves around their house to ward off pests.
How Do You Dry Mint Leaves?
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “how do I dry mint leaves?”, you’re in the right place. If you’ve asked yourself how to dry mint leaves in the microwave, even better!
There are three main methods of drying mint leaves: air drying, using a dehydrator, or using an oven.
Air drying is the easiest method because you simply hang the leaves up. It’s also the method that keeps the leaves freshest and helps them maintain their flavor. The trouble is that you need to live in a warm and dry climate. If you try this method where it’s cold or humid, your leaves will likely become moldy.
Using a dehydrator is usually the next preferred method. This is because the machine dries leaves at a low temperature and prevents them from becoming overcooked.
Using an oven is also a great method because it’s fast an easy. The concern with using an oven is overcooking.
Ovens can’t always operate at lower temperatures, and this makes it a lot easier to overcook your leaves. If you use this method, you need to be diligent and continually check your leaves as they’re drying.
There’s also another method…
The microwave method isn’t as popular or as common as some of the other methods. The concern is that the microwave reaches very high temperatures. These temperatures can dry out the leaves, eliminating the essential oils that are important to the herb’s flavor.
However, this is a great method if you’re strapped for time. Drying can be done in only 2 minutes. If you choose this method, just be careful to keep an eye on your leaves so you don’t overcook them.
How Long Does It Take To Dry Mint In Microwave?
Drying your mint leaves in the microwave is the quickest method. A lot of people prefer the other methods because they believe the leaves maintain their quality better. But, the microwave method is a great option if you’re short for time. I don’t believe that it reduces the quality of the leaves either.
When you dry your mint leaves in the microwave, it’s going to take you less than 2 minutes.
How long you dry your leaves depends on your individual leaves and how hydrated they are. I recommend drying your mint for at least 30 seconds, but no longer than 60 seconds.
If you’re concerned about overcooking them, simply check on them halfway through the drying process. I recommend checking on your leaves after 30 seconds.
If they’re done, they’ll be thin and crispy and will crumble under your fingers. If they haven’t quite reached this point, then you know that you need to microwave them longer.
Do You Wash Mint Before Drying In Microwave?
You’re always going to want to wash your mint before drying it, regardless of which drying method you use. Washing your mint ensures that you get any dirt and pests off of them. If they’re grown outside where you use pesticides, then that’s all the more reason for you to wash them first.
Fortunately, it’s not hard at all to wash your leaves. All you need to do is fill up your sink, or a bowl, with cool water. Put your leaves into the water and swish them around. It’s best if you leave the stems on for this part because they help weigh the leaves down. A heavier plant is simply easier to wash.
You can swish your leaves around either with your bare hands, or you can use a utensil, it doesn’t matter which. Swishing the plants around will help dislodge any dirt that has really built onto the plant.
After you’re finished washing, you have a few options. You can simply move them to a drying rack if you’re strapped for time. However, I recommend moving them to a towel where you can pat them dry. Your leaves need to be completely dry before you dry them in the microwave. Patting them dry in a towel helps to speed up the process.
How To Dry Mint Leaves In Microwave
Have you ever wondered how to dry mint in the microwave? Drying your mint leaves in the microwave is the best option if you’re in a pinch. It’s a super fast method that doesn’t compromise the quality of your herbs. Here’s how to do it:
- Harvest your peppermint leaves
- Wash and dry the leaves
- Remove the stems from the leaves
- Lay a piece of parchment paper inside your microwave
- Lay the leaves evenly across the paper. Make sure no leaves are touching.
- Microwave the leaves at full power for 30-60 seconds
- Check on your leaves after 30 seconds. If they need more time, you can microwave them further.
- You’ll know the leaves are finished when they’re crisp and crumble when you touch them
How To Store Your Dried Mint Leaves
Storing your dried mint leaves is really simple, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
My recommendation is to keep them in an airtight glass container. This is going to keep them freshest and prevent any kind of contamination.
I always suggest avoiding plastics because they tend to be porous. A porous plastic container will absorb any of the essential oils that your dried leaves produce. The essential oils play a big part in keeping your leaves fresh. They are what gives the leaves their smell and taste. So, if you have the option, stick with glass.
Whichever container you decide to use, just make sure that your leaves are completely dry before storing them. If you try to store leaves that still retain moisture, mold will begin to grow inside your container and ruin your herbs.
If you’re not sure that your leaves are completely dry, but don’t want to risk overcooking them, don’t worry. All you need to do is keep an eye on your leaves for a few days. Check them once a day for the first 3-4 days.
If they’re not completely dry, you’ll begin to notice condensation building up on the sides of the container. This is your indication that you need to dry your leaves more.
Herbs rarely go bad when dried, but they will begin to lose their flavor and aroma. I don’t recommend keeping your herbs for more than 12 months. Ideally, you’ll use all your herbs within 6 months. After 6 months, your herbs quickly begin to lose their flavor and aroma, making them less effective.
It’s true, drying mint leaves in the microwave isn’t as common as air drying them, using a dehydrator, or using your oven. Still, it’s a great method that gets your leaves dried fast. If you’re lacking time but still crave fresh, dried mint leaves, give the microwave method a try.
Suzi is a stay at home mom who is passionate about growing plants that look great and work great in the kitchen. She thinks nothing is better than eating something you have grown yourself.