oven dried herbs

I have several pots of herbs on the go this summer and some in the raised beds, and I've been keeping my eyes and ears peeled for ways to use them while they're fresh. Like the delicious pea and mint soup we had this week, herb-infused water, or tossed into a salad. In anticipation of winter, though, I've also been thinking about drying some, and yesterday, I did it for the first time in the oven. It worked extremely well for me, (not to mention that it's super easy). You also don't have any of the dust or humidity problems that can happen if they're hung to dry in bundles. Here's how I did it!
Pick your herbs. They're supposedly at their flavour peak early in the morning after the dew's evaporated. Trimming the plants back encourages them to put out more growth, too, so that's another good reason not to wait until the end of the season to harvest them!
Wash and dry well. I thought this was pretty clever of me - to wash them, I used the salad spinner. It's now one of my favourite kitchen tools, and I bought it recently at a thrift store in Halifax for 99 cents. Score!
After the herbs are washed and dried (you can also use a kitchen towel to dry them if you don't have a spinner), pick off the leaves. With most (like oregano, thyme, tarragon) you can hold the top of the sprig with one hand, and run the fingers of your other hand down the stem in the opposite direction. They'll pop right off. Then lay them out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Set your oven to the lowest temperature it can reach. On my oven, it's 170. I had two sheets of herbs, which I tucked in for 40 minutes. Then I turned them with some tongs, and set the timer for another 40 minutes. I checked them again, and they looked almost perfectly dry. Since I was in the middle of something else, I turned off the oven and left the door open for a minute (there were no babies around!), then closed it and let them sit for another 20 minutes or so. If there's too much moisture, they can mold, and if they're in the oven too long, they might burn, so try to find that perfect middle ground!
And here are the dried herbs, waiting to be used. On the left is mint, top middle is sage, underneath that is bee and lemon balm, top right is oregano, tarragon is on the bottom right (my favourite!) and stevia in front. I will absolutely be doing more of this! And watch out if you're on my Christmas list!

If you don't have your own herbs, it's not too late. The garden centres are closing for the season here in Nova Scotia, and you just might be able to get your hands on some super cheap potted herbs. I saw some at the Superstore the other day, and you can also get some from the market and plunk them in some water, and start your own. If you can find some perennial ones either of those ways, it's absolutely worth it, since you can use them for the rest of this season, and keep them in the garden for years!

Happy herbing! Let me know if this works well for you!


  1. That looks great and easy, Sherrie! I usually freeze herbs but I like this method, much more energy-efficient!

  2. Thanks for pointing that out, Kristina! When I was composing the post in my head, I thought of mentioning the option of freezing them, but I didn't think about the energy saving aspect. :)


Thanks so much for your comments - I read and appreciate each one! Sorry about the word verification - the spammers found me and it became necessary. Thanks for taking the time to comment!