Friday, September 3, 2010

How to Dry herbs in the Microwave

Using herbs after the summer requires preservation. On Monday I talked about preserving the fresh taste using an herb paste. Drying takes up no freezer space and allows you to fill your spice jars with your own garden bounty quickly and easily. There are many methods of preservation that can be used. One that is gaining in popularity, especially for the home herb gardener is using the microwave. The microwave allows you to dry some herbs that are not as easy to dry by hanging, like basil and chives. If you want to try drying your herbs in the microwave, just follow these simple steps.

The steps to accomplishing this are rather simple.


  1. Pick out the herbs you want to dry and harvest them. Mid-morning harvesting is best as the dew has lifted but the heat of the day has not removed the flavor oils from the leaves. Avoid the oldest leaves as they are sometimes tough. When harvesting perennial herbs in summer you can cut about 3/4 of the height of the plant, but in fall you should cut only ½ the height to give the plant needed food for winter. Annuals of course can be cut to the ground at the end of the season.
  2. Remove any damage or discolored leaves and remove the leaves from the stems. (Unless you are drying thyme then it is best to leave it on the stem.)
  3. Rinse the herbs. Run cool water over them in colander. Dry the herbs between layers of paper towel, patting them down gently to remove as much water as possible
  4. Lay the herbs out on paper towel. Don’t fill the sheet too full, then place another towel on top.
  5. Place the towel in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes stopping every 30 seconds to be sure they do not burn.
  6. Remove the paper towel from the microwave and let the herbs rest a few minutes. This allows the moisture from the microwave to evaporate into the air.
  7. If the herbs are crisp to the touch they are fully dry, store them in a dry dark container with a tight fitting lid. Always label your herbs, as they look ands smell much different dried than fresh and will not be as easily identified.

 At the Backyard Patch we make hundred of blends using dried herbs if you are interested in learning more about our combinations, visit us at

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