The best way to dry mint is to use a food dehydrator for the highest retained aroma. Prepare the mint by rinsing and removing excess water. Dry the leaves in a single layer in a dehydrator set to 100°F - 105°F for 2-5 hours until crispy. Store in airtight glass containers in a cool, dry, dark place.
Mint plants are among the easiest herbs you can grow in your garden to use when fresh or dried. Having surplus mint is common, and drying it is a great way to enjoy the benefits for years to come.
Whether you grow your own mint or buy plenty of it from farmers’ markets and grocery stores, this article explains how to dry mint using various methods and how to use it creatively at home.
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The Best Way to Dry Fresh Mint
There are three great ways you can dry fresh mint at home. You can dry mint in a dehydrator, oven, or naturally in the air.
How to Dry Mint in a Dehydrator
Drying mint in a food dehydrator is the best method for quicker drying with no risk of burning. It also leaves the leaves with the highest aroma possible.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for dehydrating mint in a food dehydrator:
- Remove wilted or rotten mint leaves from the branches.
- Wash mint sprigs gently in cold water for 1-2 minutes to remove dirt, critters, dust, and germs.
- Blot the leaves with paper towels or kitchen towels to dry them. Alternatively, use a salad spinner if you have a lot of mint sprigs.
- Pluck the stems off, if preferred.
- Arrange the mint leaves in a single layer on dehydrator trays with enough space and no overlaps.
- Set the dehydrator to 100-105°F to dry the mint for 2-5 hours, depending on how much you have, the dehydrator you have, and the humidity level.
- Check the progress after two hours and again every 15-20 minutes afterward.
- Remove the mint when fully dry and allow them to cool. They should be crisp and crumbly when dry.
- Store the dried mint in airtight glass jars. Although dry herbs such as mint and oregano do not necessarily require conditioning, keep an eye on your dried mint for 5-7 days and shake it once a day. Store it long-term if it doesn’t get moldy or sticky and no condensation forms inside the glass containers.
How to Dehydrate Mint in an Oven
While oven-drying is quick, burning the leaves at high temperatures is easy. Oven-dried mint also has a less intense aroma.
Follow the steps below to dehydrate mint in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 180°F.
- Prep the mint by removing unwanted leaves, rinsing, drying off excess water, and removing the stems if preferred.
- Arrange the leaves in a single layer on an oven tray lined with a baking sheet or cookie sheet.
- Set the oven to the lowest temperature and dry the mint for 2-4 hours. Open the oven door partially for proper air circulation if you have a standard oven.
- Flip the leaves after the first hour for uniform drying. Keep checking them periodically to ensure they don’t burn.
- Remove the leaves when they get crisp and crumbly.
- Let the dry leaves cool down before storing them in glass containers for conditioning and long-term storage.
How to Air-dry Fresh Mint
Drying fresh mint in the air is the slowest method, but the prolonged drying time leads to the best dry mint for herbal infusions and tea infusers.
Air-drying is most practical in warm and dry climates where room temperatures average between 60-68°F and humidity levels are low.
To air-dry mint, follow the quick steps below:
- Prep your mint by removing undesirable leaves, rinsing, and drying to remove excess water. Leave the stems intact for this drying method to make bunching the mint sprigs easy.
- Tie the mint in bouquets or bunches held together at the base of the stems with strings or twine.
- Hang the bouquets upside down and enclose them in paper bags in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated location away from direct sunlight. Since the drying process here is slow, use the paper bags to keep critters and dust away. Avoid drying your mint in direct sunlight as it ruins the essential oils and causes the leaves to turn brown.
- Leave the mint to dry for 2 days and up to 2 weeks until crumbly or the stalks break off effortlessly.
- Remove the dry mint from the paper bags and store it immediately in glass containers. You can store the leaves whole, ground, or crumbled.
7 Creative Ways to Use Dry Mint
You can use dry mint in many ways, including herbal teas, homemade soaps, and even repelling critters! Here are some creative ways to use dried mint.
No other hot beverage beats the taste of mint tea on a hot summer afternoon when you want to boost your energy levels and ease digestion after a meal!
Want to make natural soap without all the chemicals in commercial soaps? This DIY herbal mint soap recipe uses dried peppermint leaves and spearmint essential oils to cut back on the industrial chemicals in soap.
The strong smell of mint is ideal for keeping insects in their rightful place—away from your home! Add some dried mint leaves and lavender to boiling water and strain the liquid into a spray bottle after cooling. Add some rubbing alcohol, and your spray is ready to use.
You owe your skin the nourishing effects of hot bathwater infused with an herbal bath salt made with dried mint leaves, calendula, and sea salt. The aroma of the hot water will invigorate your body, soul, and mind!
There’s a reason spearmint is also called “lamb mint”—it adds an unforgettable minty flavor and aroma to lamb while bringing out its tenderness and juiciness. Use dried spearmint, granulated sugar, and white wine vinegar to make this mint sauce for lamb dishes.
If you suffer from congestion quite often as I do, steep dried mint leaves in boiling water and inhale the fumes to unblock your nose. The strong mint aroma works like a charm in opening up the nasal passage and easing breathing!
While this mint ice cream recipe uses fresh mint leaves, you can swap them for dried spearmint leaves, which will be strained out after steeping in milk and cream. Try this recipe to make a creamy dessert with an inviting mint-chocolate flavor.
Best Mint Varieties for Drying
There are over 7,500 mint plant varieties that produce distinct flavors and exhibit different properties. While you can dry any mint variety, some produce better-tasting dry leaves than others. Here are some great mint varieties you can dry:
- Apple mint: Use dry apple mint to flavor lemon ice water, warm tea, and fruit salads. Add to herb rubs and sauces for seafood, lamb, and chicken.
- Orange mint: Best used fresh, but can be dried and used in fruit salads, creamy desserts, ice cream, jellies, fruit desserts, and sauces.
- Peppermint: Use in desserts, peppermint tea, and candies. Add to sweet cooked dishes like soups and stews for a minty flavor.
- Spearmint: Use dry spearmint to flavor potato and lamb dishes. It’s also used in shampoos, soaps, tea blends, and confections.
Should You Wash Mint Before Drying It?
You’ll find divided opinions regarding washing mint before drying it.
Proponents of washing mint before drying it agree it helps remove dirt, germs, and critters. Those who oppose the practice say that washing reduces the aroma of mint since most of the essential oils are soluble in water.
The trick when washing mint is to proceed with moderation—do light and gentle cleaning under cool running water for a few minutes.
Additionally, dry the mint leaves using kitchen towels or a salad spinner as soon as possible.
How Do You Know When Mint is Dry?
You’ll know mint leaves are dehydrated when they get crisp and crumbly when you press the cooled leaves in your hands.
How Long Does it Take to Dry Mint?
It takes 2-4 hours to dry mint using an oven, 2-5 hours using a food dehydrator, and 2-14 days in the air.
The total time for drying includes a prep time of 10-20 minutes and the actual time the leaves take to dry in the air, oven, or dehydrator.
How to Store Dried Mint to Keep it Fresh
Once your mint is completely dry, you can store it crumbled, powdered, or whole. Make crumbled mint by crushing it in your hands or slightly in a food processor.
To make powdered mint, use a spice grinder, food processor, or coffee grinder and grind it for a little longer.
The best way to store dried mint is to keep it at room temperature in airtight containers, preferably screw-topped glass containers. Avoid keeping dried mint in porous wood or plastic containers that absorb the essential oils.
Store dried mint in a cool, dark, and dry place away from direct sunlight.
Shelf Life of Dried Mint
Properly stored dry mint leaves have a shelf life of up to 12 months, after which they start losing their aroma and freshness.
You can prolong the shelf life by vacuum-sealing your dried mint in small batches to reduce the number of times you open the containers.