To dry thyme in an oven, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting. Spread thyme leaves on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Dry thyme leaves for 1 to 2 hours, checking every 15 minutes to monitor for doneness and prevent burning.
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Steps for Drying Thyme in an Oven
Whether you harvest thyme leaves from your own herb garden or buy fresh herbs from a local grocery store, drying thyme is the quickest way to preserve this delicious herb.
Here’s how to dry thyme in an oven:
- Wash thyme leaves in cool, running water to rinse off any dirt and debris.
- Use a salad spinner or paper towels to remove excess water from the sprigs.
- Spread the thyme leaves on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, leaving enough space between them to ensure proper airflow.
- Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature and place the baking sheet inside. Prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon to promote aeration.
- The drying time will vary depending on the temperature of the oven. For example, it can take 1 to 2 hours to dry thyme leaves in an oven at 120 degrees F.
- Check the thyme leaves every 15 minutes to prevent them from overcooking. Properly dried thyme leaves should crumble when pinched and not stick together.
- Remove the leaves from the tough stems, and store them in airtight glass jars or containers.
- Keep containers of dried herbs in a cool, dry, dark place away from humidity and direct sunlight.
What Temperature is Needed to Oven Dry Thyme?
The best temperature for drying thyme in an oven is the lowest temperature the oven can reach. For many models, the lowest temperature you can use to dry thyme leaves is 120 degrees F.
5 Tips for Oven Drying Thyme
- After washing and rinsing the thyme, remove excess water because excess moisture can soften oven-dried thyme leaves instead of making them crisp.
- Check drying herbs regularly and flip them if necessary to ensure even drying.
- Don’t increase the temperature to speed up the drying process.
- Remove the dried herbs from the stems before storing them in a mason jar or other airtight containers.
- Thyme is done when the leaves fall off of the stems and crumble rather than bend.
How Long Does it Take to Dry Thyme in an Oven?
The amount of time it takes to dry thyme leaves in an oven varies depending on the oven temperature and the moisture content of the leaves. Setting the oven to its lowest temperature will produce the best results. It generally takes 1-2 hours of total time to dry thyme leaves in an oven.
What are the Benefits of Oven Drying Thyme?
- Dried thyme is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which are both good for boosting immunity.
- Studies suggest that dried thyme may lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- The essential oils in thyme have anti-fungal properties.
- DIY dried thyme leaves can be used to make herbal tea.
- You can add dried thyme leaves to soup or use it as a pizza topping.
Should Thyme Be Washed Before Drying?
Yes, especially if you harvest thyme from your herb garden. Wash and rinse the thyme sprigs in clean water to remove any dirt or pests, and pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Let the sprigs dry completely before dehydrating them.
What is the Best Way to Dry Thyme?
The best way to dry thyme is a personal preference because thyme can easily be dried using multiple methods. If you don’t want to use your oven for drying thyme, the next best way to dry thyme leaves is to use a food dehydrator. A dehydrator is energy-efficient, and you can dry a lot of thyme at once by arranging it on dehydrator trays.
If you live in a warm climate with low humidity and don’t have a food dehydrator, you can air dry thyme by tying it in small bunches with a rubber band or kitchen twine and placing it in a warm, dry place, away from direct sunlight. It takes 1-2 weeks for thyme to air-dry.
How to Store Oven-Dried Thyme
After drying thyme, let it cool completely and store it in airtight containers such as glass jars or mason jars. Store dried thyme leaves whole or grind them into powder using a food processor or coffee grinder. Place the filled spice jars in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and humidity.
What is the Shelf Life of Oven-Dried Thyme?
Drying fresh thyme is a great way to extend the shelf life of this delicious herb. Oven-dried thyme leaves should be used within six months for the best flavor.