With a pleasant pungent scent and tasty flavor punch, Oregano is actually a Mediterranean herb. Quite easy to grow, people enjoy this herb as both fresh or dried. People have been using oregano for thousands of years in their dishes to add extra flavor and also to treat health conditions. Yes, Oregano really helps to treat many ailments, such as skin sores, aching muscles, asthma, cramping, diarrhea, indigestion, colds, and to boost overall health.
That is the reason why oregano is a favorite herb among many home cooks all over the world. You can easily dry and store it for long periods while preserving its wonderful scent and flavor. But you don’t know how to dry Oregano? Worry not! Today we’re going to tell you all about how you can harvest and dry oregano at home. So keep on reading to learn all the tips and tricks to do that.
How to Harvest Oregano?
We all know that the Oregano plant is a hardy perennial herb, and they quickly die in extreme cold weather conditions. The preservation process of the oregano leaves is quite simple. For harvesting, just wait until the morning after the dew has dried completely. Why wait until the morning? Because the concentrations of the essential oils in any herbs are generally high in the morning time.
If you want the best-flavored oregano leaves, then harvest them just as a flower bud. Remove the stem from the oregano plant with any scissors or the garden shears. Then cut back at the just above the growth node, then rinse them lightly to remove any dust. Why we’re telling you to cut it above the growth node is because this only allows the plant to grow a new branch from the cut area. Only by doing this, later it produces more flavorful leaves. Don’t forget to remove all the moisture before you dry the oregano.
4 Methods of Drying Oregano at Home
Below are the four simple ways by which you can dry oregano leaves in no time. We have listed all the methods in steps so that you can understand them better.
1. Traditional Air Drying Method
The method to dry oregano leaves is the most common natural method and has been used worldwide for decades. Oregano leaves are usually dried while still on the stem, and they naturally fall off from the stem. But Indoor drying produces better-dried herbs because they retain good original color and flavor. Here are the steps to the indoor drying method:
Steps to Air Drying Oregano:
- First, gather some oregano sprigs in the morning time and then arrange them in a loose bundle. Tie them securely together with a rubber band.
- Now take a brown paper bag and place the bundles inside it. Make sure that the bag is large enough to have good air circulation inside it.
- Tear or punch holes all over the paper bag so that air can flow in and out. After this, hang the bag upside down.
- You can place this bag either in a room or on a porch or for the best results, put them in a sunny place.
Note: Normally, oregano leaves take around two weeks to dry out completely. But this totally depends on the humidity and heat of the location where you live.
2. Oven-drying Oregano
Now let’s learn about the unnatural ways to dry the oregano leaves. The oven-drying method is quite quick and perfect for those who do not have the patience and time to dry leaves naturally. Here we have dried each leaf separately. So, let’s take a look at the steps required in this method:
Steps to Oven-dry Oregano:
- Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. It is important to do to keep metal away from reacting and discoloring the leaves.
- Wash and dry the oregano leaves and put them on the parchment paper while keeping a little space between them.
- Place the second layer of parchment paper and then again arrange the oregano leaves on this.
- Keep doing this for the 5 layers maximum.
- After you’re done with all the layers, place this tray in a preheated 200-degree Fahrenheit oven.
- Keep the door of the oven slightly open to good airflow. Because sometimes, due to excessive heat, leaves might get burned, and it also causes loss of flavor.
- Leave the oregano in the oven for at least 10 to 15 minutes and in every 2-3 minutes, stir or flip the leaves for even drying.
- After 10-15 minutes, turn the oven off but keep the oregano in the oven until it gets completely cooled.
- Remove the oregano from the oven.
You can also dry the leaves at a lower temperature, but it will take a little longer time to dry completely.
Note: Various sizes of Oregano will dry up at different rates.
3. Drying Oregano in Microwave
Don’t have an oven? Worry not! You can also dry the oregano in the microwave, and this is the quickest way to dry leaves among all the other methods. Microwave drying is also preferred for tender herbs like basil and mint.
Steps to Microwave Drying Oregano:
- Put two layers of kitchen towels on a microwave-safe plate (Never use the recycled paper towels as they may contain the fine metal fragments).
- Remove the leaves from the stems and then place them in a single layer on the paper towel.
- Take another layer of clean kitchen towels or paper towels and cover the leaves.
- Set the microwave on high power for 1 minute and continue microwaving in 20-second bursts.
- Don’t forget to check the leaves in between microwave cycles to see if they are completely dry or not.
- To finally check, bend the leaves. If they twist easily, then your leaves have thoroughly dried up.
4. Drying Oregano in the Food Dehydrator
This is one of the best methods of drying oregano. Super fast and easy way to get the best quality dried herbs. Even the herbs with the most moisture dry up quickly in a food dehydrator with still their original flavor and color intact.
Steps to Drying Oregano in Food Dehydrator :
- First, wash and pat dry the oregano leaves carefully.
- After this, put them evenly on the dehydrator tray in a single layer and also leave some space between them.
- Carefully arrange the dehydrator trays in such a way that there will be proper air circulation between the trays and between the leaves.
- Now set the dehydrator on the lowest setting with a temperature around 95 degrees Fahrenheit and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Normally, it takes 4 hours to dry up, but it totally depends on the number of leaves and humidity. You can also check on the leaves in between the cycles.
Tips on Drying Oregano
- Always choose the best leaves to get the best flavor. Because Drying causes the flavor to evaporate with oils and water present in the leaves, that’s why it is advised to pick the best ones.
- Don’t forget to wash the leaves and dry well before you start with the drying process. Don’t rub them because it will damage the leaves and causes more flavor to be lost during the drying process.
- Never choose leaves with any deformities or spots. The reason is that deformed leaves do not have the best flavor, and spots might have fungi, molds, or infestations.
Storing Dry Oregano
It doesn’t matter which method you used to dry your oregano; the only important thing is that it has to be stored properly. Before storing them in a container, always check whether leaves are totally dry or not. If you store it like that, then the moisture will cause the dried leaves to have mildew and fungus.
You can store the dried leaves either whole, roughly crumbled, or powdered form. Always store them in an airtight container because it can help preserve the flavor for a longer duration. Don’t forget to put the container in a cool place, and it should be away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Because heat and sunlight can affect both the flavor and color of the oregano. If you store them correctly, they can last for up to six months with the best flavor and quality.
So this is how to dry oregano at home. I hope this blog helps you to obtain the best flavored and quality oregano dried leaves. You can select any drying method, but don’t forget to store it in an airtight container. Don’t forget to share these useful guides with your friends. For more garden tips and house decoration ideas, keep coming to Housedecorationtip.