Mint often comes in handy in the kitchen. Unfortunately, fresh mint can only be picked during the summer. On the other hand, in stores you can find its cuttings or small plants in pots, which quickly wither, and dried mint is rare.
Fortunately, you can prepare herbs yourself at home. In the following article, we’ll show you a few ways to dry mint so that you have it on hand at all times
The ideal time to pick mint is summer, then the plant has the most intense flavor. The time of day should also not be chosen at random. The herbs should be picked on a windless day, just before noon. It is not worth doing this early in the morning, because then the plants are dewy, and in the summer afternoon mint can be dried out, causing it to wilt quickly.Herbs should be dried immediately after picking.
How to harvest mint? Before leaving home, equip yourself with a sharp knife or scissors. Pick mint at a height of 10-15 cm from the top of the plant. Remember that the youngest parts are the tastiest and most intense in flavor. When choosing a location, focus on wild areas far from urban centers, highways and fertilized farmland.
After picking, the herbs need to be properly prepared. This is not a difficult task. Pick through the mint, as bits of grass and weeds may have gotten in. Then cut off any leaves that are infested with disease, rotten and wilted. Herbs that come from the wild don’t need to be washed, but it is advisable to shake them gently to get rid of the dust on them.
If the leaves are muddy, gently wash them under running water and then place them on a paper towel or linen cloth to dry. Then move on to drying
This method is a bit confusing because herbs cannot be dried in the sun. Direct sunlight causes the plants to brown and wilt. Outdoor drying involves spreading out the plants in shaded areas.
How to dry mint under these conditions? The leaves of the plant should be separated, and then placed on a plant dryer. You can easily create one at home. All you need is a wooden frame and an airy cloth stretched over it. A standing clothes dryer with a thin cloth over it will do just fine.
It is best to dry mint on a terrace or under a gazebo. You should hide the herbs overnight and regularly turn them inside out. This method of drying takes 2 to 3 weeks
For drying herbs at home, shady and odor-free places are useful. These include the attic, the loft or dry cellars. On the other hand, it is not recommended to dry mint in the kitchen or bathroom. Mainly due to the presence of moisture and various intense odors.
How to prepare a home drying room? To prepare herbs will be great thin, airy fabric, wicker tray, or openwork basket made of metal. Mint leaves and stems should be spread out in an airy room on a previously prepared place. It is most important that the herbs have constant access to fresh air. You should also turn them over regularly
Another way to dry herbs is to place them in the oven. This is the shortest and most popular method of drying mint. Place the prepared herbs individually on a baking sheet. Then set the oven to a very low temperature. It should not exceed 35 degrees Celsius. Only then the herbs will retain their aroma and fragrance
However, if we do not have the opportunity to choose such a low temperature, then set the device to the lowest heating (usually it is 50 degrees Celsius). In this case, you need to be patient, because the heating should be turned off every 5-10 minutes. When drying mint in the oven, the door must be ajar. The evaporating moisture from the plants must not accumulate inside
The time for drying mint in the oven varies (several hours), but it is always shorter than the previously mentioned methods. Perfectly dried herbs are those that crumble when touched, while still remaining green.
It is not worth to speed up the drying. Do not turn on the thermo or set the oven to a higher temperature because then the water from plants can rapidly escape, and with it valuable essential oils. Moreover, only one kind of herbs should be dried at a time in the oven. We never mix them together
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