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Oven Drying Herbs

24 Jul
Oven Drying Herbs

Recently, my family and I went to Denmark.  My husband is Danish and his family still lives there.  We have been twice now, and always enjoy it so much.  Really, it is the place of my gardening and wild foraging dreams, with wild elderberry growing nearly every where you look.  Did you know they grow witch hazel? It’s a tree! Who knew? But I digress..

My sister-in-law Trine has a lovely little herb garden as well as some raised boxes for veggies.  When we were there the oregano was trying to flower so we pinched it way back and then had all of these wonderful smelling leaves. Neither Trine nor I wanted to waste them so I suggested oven drying.  She said she had tried it once and it didn’t work for her. Well, never shy of a challenge and not one to take no for an answer, I hit you tube for some more info.

The directions were pretty simple, oven on lowest setting, leave for 15-30min (depending on what you are drying) and then check every 10 min after that.  Ok so away I went. WELL, that didn’t work at all.  The oregano turned dark brown and looked very unappetizing. Back to the internet I went.  The temperature recommendation was unspecific other than to say not ABOVE 200F. I am in Europe and there is not a fahrenheit gauge in sight, but I discovered a possible problem.  Her oven started at 50C which is much to low.  After getting some help from google on conversion we settled closer to 75C which is about 167F.  All of a sudden the oregano started to dry without loosing its colour.  We tried to not over dry it, taking it out before it was very brittle and voila! Dried oregano. It was very quick and space saving, and I do believe I will be trying this out at home!  Here are some pictures of the exercise.

We striped all of the leaves off of the stems.  Not a necessary step, and it's time consuming but makes keeping the leaves whole for long term storage much easier.

We striped all of the leaves off of the stems. Not a necessary step, and it’s time consuming but makes keeping the leaves whole for long term storage much easier.

Leave the door cracked to allow for lots of air flow and humidity to escape.

Leave the door cracked to allow for lots of air flow and humidity to escape.

Oven up to temperature.

Oven up to temperature.

You want to put it down in a single layer.  I did one tray with much less on it and after these two I would cover all available space.

You want to put it down in a single layer. I did one tray with much less on it and after these two I would cover all available space.

Drying in the oven. Not sure if the paper towel is necessary but used it anyway.

Drying in the oven. Not sure if the paper towel is necessary but used it anyway.

All done!

All done!

After this success, I attacked her Lavender patch.  Oh to have a Lavender patch! Alas, living in Zone 3, Lavender is only a thing of dreams.

Top rack drying with a bit of paper towel to hold the stalks up.

Top rack drying with a bit of paper towel to hold the stalks up.

Like I said, using ALL the space.

Like I said, using ALL the space.

Happy plant drying everyone!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Gardening, Preserving Food

 

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