If you’re looking to add a little extra flavor to your favorite recipes, then why not try adding oregano? You can easily grow this herb yourself and dry it to lock in its flavor and have it to use for months to come.
This article will first talk about why you should dry your oregano. Then, we’ll discuss many methods to dry this herb, going more in-depth about how to dry fresh oregano in the oven.
For instance, we’ll give step-by-step instructions on how to dry oregano in the oven. Then, for example, we’ll share what to do to prep for it, how long it’ll take, and how to store it properly afterward.
Why Dry Oregano?
Adding oregano or other herbs to your meals will add extra flavor. So, you can harvest and dry the oregano yourself to add that extra something to your dinner.
Drying oregano sounds like a process, but it’s better to do it yourself rather than buy already dried oregano from the store.
For example, drying fresh oregano will lock in the flavor and keep longer. So, how do you dry out fresh oregano at home yourself?
How To Dry Out Oregano
There are a few different methods you can use to dry out oregano.
The first is to use a dehydrator. This is a great method to dry oregano safely, but it’s also the slowest. Also, it may keep longer if you let the herb cool completely before storing it.
On the other hand, dehydrators can get extremely hot. So, you need to periodically check on it to ensure that the oregano is being dried and not cooked.
In addition, you can simply let the natural air do the work for you. For example, you can hang oregano on some twine as if you’re hanging laundry out to dry.
However, drying oregano this way will take a couple of days. Also, you’ll want to check on it a few times per day. The oils in the leaves may grow fungi, which isn’t safe at all.
In addition, it will take up a lot of space in your kitchen since each leaf needs to be dried individually.
If you don’t want to hang up the oregano, you can simply lay them out flat on a baking sheet and let them dry on their own. You’ll want to turn it over at least once a day. This way, all sides will dry, and you can make sure no mold grows on it.
On the other hand, if you flat dry them or hang dry them, you can also place them in a sunny spot. It will take a few days, but the sun will provide enough heat to help dry out the leaves.
However, if you sun-dry your oregano and it’s humid out, it could take a few weeks to completely dry due to the moisture in the air.
Another method is the microwave. This method is the fastest, but you need to be careful. For instance, if you leave the oregano in the microwave for too long, then a fire could spark.
You can learn more about drying oregano in the microwave here.
Finally, another option is to dry the oregano out in the oven. This is a great choice.
How Long Does It Take To Dry Oregano In The Oven?
The oven is one of the fastest ways to dry out oregano. At a temperature of 180 degrees or less, you can dry out these herbs within an hour or two.
If the oregano is completely dry, it will take only an hour.
However, you’ll want to check on your oregano every 15 minutes or so to ensure that it’s drying out and not being cooked.
How And When To Harvest Oregano
The best time to harvest oregano is spring or early summer.
When your oregano plant is about six to eight inches tall, that’s a perfect time to harvest the herb.
You can cut above the node point during the late morning using gardening shears or a simple pair of kitchen scissors. You should leave two to three inches of the plant above the soil. This way, the plant will be encouraged to continue growing so you can harvest it again another time.
In addition, when the plant is just about to flower, this is a good time to harvest the oregano. At this time, you can be sure that the oregano will have the most flavor.
Do You Wash Oregano Before Drying?
If you grow the oregano yourself in your garden without the use of pesticides, then you do not need to wash the herb. However, you will want to shake it out and ensure there’s no excess dirt.
Although, you can still wash the oregano to be on the safe side and get rid of small bugs or dirt on the leaves.
If you buy oregano from the store, you certainly want to wash it. It most likely doesn’t have pesticides on it if it’s organic. However, there’s no harm in washing it beforehand to be on the safe side.
Remember, if you wash the oregano before drying it, make sure it’s dry completely without any moisture on it. Otherwise, the oregano will cook rather than dry in the oven.
How To Dry Oregano In The Oven
So, how do you dry oregano in the oven? Once you have harvested your oregano from the garden or bought it fresh from the store, it’s time to dry it out so you can use it in various recipes.
Here are the exact instructions for how to dry oregano in oven.
- Wash the oregano thoroughly (if needed) and then wait for it to dry.
- Preheat your oven to 170 to 180 degrees F.
- While waiting for your oven to preheat, place the oregano on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure the oregano is not touching one another on a single layer.
- Within one hour, the oregano leaves should be thoroughly dried. If not, you can place them back in for another ten minutes. Keep checking on them every ten minutes or so to ensure they’re not cooking. You’ll know when they’re completely dry when they’re crumbly to the touch.
- Once done, turn off your oven and take the baking sheet out.
- Remove the leaves from the stems into a bowl with your hand. Alternatively, you can crush them with a mortar and pestle if you want the herbs to be a finer texture.
- Once crushed, you can use the dried oregano right away. Or you can store it in a glass jar and put it inside a dark cabinet.
How To Store Your Dried Oregano
Before storing your dried oregano, you’ll want to cure it. Curing the oregano will help prevent mold and bacteria.
All you need to do for this is place your dried oregano in a clear glass container or jar. You can place the jar in a dark part of a room with good circulation. Then, for about an hour a day, leave the lid off to allow the dried oregano to get more air.
Check on it often, and if you see a leaf growing mold, you can easily take it out and toss it.
After a week or so, you can put the lid on the jar and store it away in a dark cabinet.
The dried oregano will last for about two years. However, it will begin to lose its rich flavor after six months.
Is this the best way to dry oregano? That will be up to you and your preferences.
Drying oregano is an easy process once you get the hang of it. You can try more than one method to see which one works best for you.
However, drying oregano in the oven is quick and easy.
Suzi is a stay at home mom who juggles earning money online whilst raising 2 kids. She’s passionate about continual self development and earning money online for the benefit of herself and others.