Drying your mint leaves is a great idea because you’ll have herbs to use year round. Dried mint can be used in your cooking, to make tea, as a pest deterrent, and to help your house smell nicer.
Oven drying is one of the easiest ways to dry your mint leaves, and I’m going to cover how to do it here.
Below, I discuss the different way to dry mint including in depth instructions for exactly how to dry mint leaves in oven. I also talk about how long it takes and answer common questions like whether to wash mint before drying, when and how to harvest mint ready for drying and how to store your dried mint.
- 1 Why Dry Mint?
- 2 How To Dry Fresh Mint
- 3 How Long Does It Take To Dry Mint In The Oven?
- 4 How And When To Harvest Mint
- 5 Do You Wash Mint Before Drying?
- 6 How To Dry Mint In Oven: The Best Way To Dry Mint
- 7 How To Store Your Dried Mint
- 8 Final Words
Why Dry Mint?
Using dried mint isn’t necessarily better than using fresh mint, but it does have its set of benefits.
This is probably the most common use of dried mint. We find it in all kinds of foods, savory and sweet. It is very commonly used in South Asian dishes to add a cool, sweet flavor to something that might otherwise be spicy.
There are several different kinds of mint. The most common used in cooking are peppermint, spearmint, and orange mint. Peppermint has a lot of flavor so that it really stands out in dishes. Spearmint, on the other hand, is mild with a sweeter taste. Orange mint is probably the most unique with a strong aroma and citrusy scent. Orange mint is most often used in fruit dishes.
People love the smell of mint, so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that people use it to make their homes smell good. The two most common leaves used for aroma are spearmint and peppermint.
It’s supper easy to liven up your home with the scent of mint. The dried leaves can simply be placed in a bowl on their own or with other potpourri. You can also simmer them in water for a nice, subtle scent.
Keeping Away Pests
Like many herbs, mint has a very strong scent. Although the scent is pleasant and appealing to us, many pests detest it. Keeping mint in your home, particularly along windowsills and other entrances, can keep some pests at bay.
The best way to do this is by filling small, porous bags with mint leaves and leaving them around your home.
Some people also plant mint in their gardens and find that it protects their other plants from attack.
Peppermint is thought to work best because of its particularly strong scent. It’s said to keep away flies, fleas, ants, and mice.
How To Dry Fresh Mint
Just like there are many ways to use dried mint, there are multiple ways to dry your mint. You can air dry it, use a dehydrator, or dry it in the oven.
I’ll go over each of these methods briefly, but I’m going to cover oven drying more in-depth.
In A Dehydrator
For this method, you’re going to want to remove the leaves from the stems. You can always dry the stems separately if you’d like.
Your dehydrator will have one or more trays. You’ll want to lay the leaves along these trays in a single layer. Don’t lay the leaves too closely to each other. You’ll want to leave space for circulation.
You’ll then dry the mint at 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-5 hours until the leaves crumble.
This method is a good one because it uses low temperatures and doesn’t take very long.
Unlike dehydrating where you separate the mint pieces, you’re going to keep them whole for air drying. You’re going to gather the mint plants, both leaves and stems, and tie them into a bouquet with a bit of string.
Next, you’ll hang the bouquet in a well-ventilated area. Make sure that the bouquet is not in direct sunlight.
This method is best if you live in a naturally warm and dry climate. If you try this method in a colder or more humid climate, your leaves may become moldy.
This is probably the easiest, most hands-off method, but it takes between 2 days and 2 weeks to complete.
How To Dry Mint Leaves In The Oven
This method is similar to the dehydrating method in that you’ll use heat to remove moisture from the leaves. You’re going to remove the leaves from the stems. Then, place the leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. As with dehydrating, make sure there is plenty of space between each leaf.
The trays are then going to go into the oven. Set the oven to the lowest temperature you possibly can. Shoot for under 200 degrees Fahrenheit if possible. Anything higher than that will cause your mint to cook rather than dehydrate, and you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
The amount of time this takes depends on the temperature of your oven. Overall, the process can take between 1.5-4 hours.
Personally, I believe this is the best method as long as your oven’s temperature can go low enough. It acts very similarly to a dehydrator, but you don’t have to buy extra equipment. It’s also very quick.
How Long Does It Take To Dry Mint In The Oven?
How long it takes for your mint leaves to dry depends on what temperature your oven is set at. The higher the temperature, the faster the leaves will dry. However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Higher temperatures have a better chance of overcooking the leaves or causing the essential oils to evaporate.
For example, an oven set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit will take between 1.5-4 hours to dry. Leaves in an oven set at a temperature of 180 degrees may only take 1-2.5 hours to dry.
How And When To Harvest Mint
Technically, you can harvest mint at any time of the year. However, the best time to harvest any herb is when it’s at its prime. For mint, this time is the end of spring. You’ll know that the leaves are ready for harvest because they’ll be plump, fresh-looking, and green.
Some say that a good time to harvest is when the plant’s flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s believed that this is when the plant’s essential oils are at their strongest.
You now know it’s best to harvest mint at the end of spring. It’s also important to know that you should harvest mint first thing in the morning. Harvesting in the morning will prevent the harsh sun from drying the plant’s essential oils before harvesting.
What If My Mint Plant Isn’t Looking Good?
It’s the end of spring when your mint plant should be at its best, but it’s looking yellow and worn-out. Plants like these aren’t going to give you good tasting herbs. Rather than using these plants, I’d recommend starting over.
Perform a complete prune on your plant, cutting it back to the ground. Then, let the plant regrow, and the plant will grow back healthier and stronger. The best part is that mint grows very quickly, so you won’t have to wait long for new, fresh herbs.
Do You Wash Mint Before Drying?
It’s always important to wash your herbs before using them in your cooking. This is especially important if they’re grown outside where they’ve been in the dirt and exposed to insects. If you use pesticides — which I don’t recommend — you’ll definitely want to thoroughly wash your herbs.
If you grow your mint outside, you’re going to first want to rid your herbs of any bugs. Place them on a cloth and leave them outside in the shade for thirty minutes. Hopefully, the bugs will take a hint and fly away.
Next, you’ll want to bring your herbs inside. Fill your sink with cool water and place your leaves inside. Make sure they’re fully submerged. It’ll be easier to fully submerge them if you leave them on the stem. The extra weight will help them sink to the bottom of the sink.
To help get any stubborn dirt off, you can swish the herbs around with your hands. After you’ve done this, you can remove them to dry. If you have a dish rack, this is the best place to dry them, but a dish towel will also work fine.
Avoid drying them in direct sunlight because this can evaporate the essential oils.
How To Dry Mint In Oven: The Best Way To Dry Mint
Of course, I already covered how to dry your mint in the oven. But here are step-by-step instructions that you can follow when you are ready.
- Harvest your mint
- Rinse and dry
- Remove stems if desired
- Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Line the mint along the parchment paper ensuring that the leaves are not too close to one another
- Place it in the oven below 200 degrees Fahrenheit
- Turn the leaves every half an hour to help with drying
- Keep the oven door wedged open to help with air flow, You can use a fireproof item like a spoon
- Remove the leaves after 1.5-4 hours
If you want to know how to dry mint leaves for tea in the oven, it’s exactly like this.
How To Store Your Dried Mint
Before trying to store your new dried mint, you’ll want to make sure that the leaves are completely dried and have cooled. You’ll also want to make sure that your leaves are good. Even when dried, the leaves should remain green with a strong aroma. If they appear darkened, they’ve probably been burnt.
Next, you’ll want to crumble the leaves up with your fingers, a stick blender, or a food processor. If you’d like, you can store the leaves whole as well, but this isn’t as popular. Some people even grind their mint leaves into powder to use in coffee and other drinks.
From there, you can simply store it in an airtight container that’s going to keep it dry and safe from the elements. Glass is your best option because some plastics will absorb the oil from the plant. Keep your spices in a cool, dark area.
For the first few days after storing, you should keep an eye on the container. If you see any condensation in the containers, then the leaves need to be dried further.
Dried mint is typically good for one year. After a year, it hasn’t technically expired, but the flavor will begin to disappear.
Drying mint leaves is very easy. You can air dry them, dry them with a dehydrator, or dry them in the oven. I personally think that drying the leaves in the oven is the best option. Not only is it easy, but it’s also cost-effective and quick.
If you’ve ever thought of drying your own mint leaves, using your oven is the way to go.
Want to learn more? Click here for specifically how to dry peppermint leaves and here for spearmint leaves. You can also learn how to make a great peppermint tea with your dried leaves here or find all my guides to mint here.
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.