Dehydrating Methods: How to Dry Rosemary

fresh and dried rosemary
There are three methods for drying fresh rosemary: in a food dehydrator, in an oven, or air drying it. Drying rosemary in an oven is the fastest way, but air-drying rosemary is the best way to retain the essential oils of the herb. Oven drying takes 1-2 hours, air-drying takes 1-2 weeks, and a food dehydrator takes 6-8 hours.

How to Dry Rosemary in a Food Dehydrator

If you grow rosemary plants, it’s important to be able to dry rosemary for later use. If you have a food dehydrator at home, you can dry rosemary leaves easily while maintaining their quality:

  1. Wash rosemary leaves under running water to remove dirt and debris from the sprigs and needles.
  2. Pat the rosemary leaves dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture and help speed the dehydration process.
  3. Spread the rosemary leaves on the dehydrator trays in a single layer without overlapping them.
  4. Place a mesh screen on top of the leaves to anchor them into place.
  5. Dry rosemary at 95°F–105°F for 4–8 hours.
  6. Once completely dried, separate the sprigs of rosemary from the rosemary stemsThe dried rosemary leaves should snap and not bend once fully dry.
  7. Store your DIY dried herbs in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dry place away from humidity and direct sunlight.
Rosemary leaves spread apart inside a food dehydrator
Rosemary in dehydrator

How to Dehydrate Rosemary in an Oven

If you want to dry rosemary quickly, you can use an oven. It’s important to watch the rosemary when oven drying to prevent browning it.

  1. Wash the rosemary leaves and rinse them thoroughly.
  2. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels.
  3. Cut the branches into 2-inch sprigs and remove the tough, woody stems.
  4. Lay the sprigs of rosemary on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
  5. Place them into a preheated oven set at the lowest temperature.
  6. Bake for 2 to 4 hours.
  7. Check the sprigs every 30 minutes, flipping them and ensuring the stems do not touch each other.
  8. Once completely dried, separate the rosemary sprigs from the tough, woody stems.
  9. Allow the rosemary to cool completely and test for dryness.
  10. Store your oven-dried rosemary leaves in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

How to Air Dry Rosemary

You can air-dry rosemary by hanging it upside down in a warm and well-ventilated area. The air-drying method is quite popular because the dried herbs retain their color and flavor better.

  1. Wash and rinse the rosemary sprigs.
  2. Pat them dry with paper towels.
  3. Tie the rosemary sprigs together into bunches with a rubber band or kitchen twine.
  4. Hang the bundles in a warm and well-ventilated area, either indoors or outdoors.
  5. Cover the rosemary bunches with a paper bag or a muslin cloth to protect them from pests and dust. If using a paper bag, ensure you make several holes for airflow.
  6. Let them dry for around two weeks or until the needles start to fall off. Check the drying rosemary sprigs regularly.
  7. Once air-dried, separate the rosemary sprigs from the woody stems.
  8. Store your air-dried rosemary leaves in airtight containers in a cool, dry, dark place.
Bundle of fresh rosemary tied with twine next to a bowl of dried rosemary
Rosemary tied with twine

Should Rosemary Be Washed Before Drying?

It is necessary to wash rosemary before drying it, even if you harvest rosemary plants from your own herb garden due to dirt and debris.

Rinse rosemary sprigs in clean water and pat them dry with paper towels. Alternatively, use a salad spinner to remove the excess water before dehydrating them.

Is It Worth It To Dry Rosemary?

Yes – dehydrating rosemary is a great way to preserve it and offers several benefits:

Fresh and dry rosemary in a heart shaped bowl
Fresh and dried rosemary

Is it Better to Freeze or Dry Rosemary?

Dried rosemary lasts longer than frozen rosemary, but the resins in rosemary make it perfect for freezing in ice cube trays, filtered water, or olive oil. Freezing rosemary leaves is a great way to maintain the natural essential oils and delicate flavor of this herb.

How Long Does It Take to Dry Rosemary?

It takes between 4 and 8 hours to dry rosemary in a food dehydrator, 2-4 hours in an oven, and two weeks when air drying. The total drying time varies depending on the amount of moisture in your rosemary and the humidity.

Dried rosemary leaves in a white bowl
Dried rosemary leaves

How Should Rosemary Be Stored After Drying?

DIY dried rosemary should be stored in airtight containers with tight-fitted lids. Vacuum-sealing will remove most of the air from the jars and preserve the herbs for longer. Label the storage containers and keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and humidity.

What is the Shelf Life of Dried Rosemary?

Most dried herbs, including rosemary, have a shelf life of six months to three years. A good way to check dried herbs is to crush and smell them. If they have a strong smell, they are still good to use. If you can’t identify the herb by smell, discard and replace it.

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic it is to dehydrate and preserve food by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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