View Full Version : Drying herbs... in the microwave?

08-19-2016, 01:46 PM
Ive been practicing different techniques to dry my excess basil.... hanging it upside down in the pantry, trying to sun-dry it on a baking sheet in the sun.... and now Im trying the microwave method... which works but Im not sure about the quality or energy efficientness.
(I dont have a dehydrator, and probably wont be buying one anytime in the near future. And I dont want to freeze it because.... small baggies of mysterious green cubes... even labeled... just isnt going to work for me.)

There seems to be some shame though, with using the microwave, and Im not sure that it doesnt destroy some vital part of the flavor which will be revealed later.

Does anyone else microwave their herbs to dry them? Is there another (free) method of preserving herbs that isnt so prominently featured on youtube?

08-19-2016, 01:54 PM
Cookie sheet, inside your hot car, on the dashboard. :) You're Welcome!

08-19-2016, 02:30 PM
I do it in the oven at 150 - 175 F until dry. Length of time depends on the herb/flower. Keep it under 200 F and you'll be fine. For cooking, I also do frozen herbs, particularly basil. I rough chop the leaves, then mix with a bit of olive oil (or water or broth) until I have a loose paste/mush. Then portion and freeze in extra ice cube trays. When frozen, I put them in a freezer bag. I grab one or two to put into soups, stews, melt into pasta dishes, and so on, as needed.

08-19-2016, 05:07 PM
So this is just under 3 hours in the car.
Temperature = 163* per infrared thermometer.

Its a little brown... i guess I overcooked it?

But my car sure smells nice!

I will try again with next weeks trimmings. Watching them a little more closely!

Its like the oven, but FREE!

08-19-2016, 06:53 PM
I think it's gonna end up brown, no matter. Crumble it up and throw it in tomato sauce....see what happens.

I think 165 degrees is what my dehydrator suggests for herbs....I'd have to check.

I suppose free is a matter of opinion, but at least now your vehicle is a true multi-tasker. You know, that might be an interesting marketing ploy. I can hear the mom's now....."My new Honda mini-van has an entertainment system, gps, wi-fi, vacuum AND herb dehydrator. Standard!!!"

08-19-2016, 07:04 PM
The microwave ones come out green... and still basilish.

(These were from a few weeks and different trials ago.)

The car ones have lost their fragrance, too. I suspect I overcooked them. I hope I have those leaves worth of fragrance wafting around my car for the next few days.

Or maybe I should try to make essential oils?

Tomorrow, though, I will car-dry some mint. And check on it frequently.

ETA: Does the herb need to be covered?

08-19-2016, 11:26 PM
Maybe the color is a sun-bleaching effect? Heck if I know. But I DID get you to dry herbs in your car, so why stop listening to me now!!! LOL!!!! Let's see what else I can get you to try ;)

08-19-2016, 11:54 PM
Well it did work to dry them. Like an oven, but portable.

And I wasnt going to take the burned up leaves and eat em, no matter what you suggested. :p

I use the cookie sheet in the sun for dill, and it worked beautifully. Not so much with the basil, but Its dawned on me that I cant just leave it out ALL DAY.

Imma keep with the cardehydrator. ;)

08-21-2016, 03:01 PM
You can hang dry or even dry in your vehicle on the dash.

Dry Herbs In Your Car: Frugal Food Preservation (http://uppastured.com/dry-herbs-in-your-car-dehydrator/)

Hang Dry Herbs: Frugal Food Preservation (http://uppastured.com/hang-dry-herbs-frugal-food-preservation/)

You can dehydrate in your oven on a lower temperature and the door cracked, but I honestly find that to be a pricey way to do it.

08-21-2016, 10:16 PM
The Alton Brown method!

Drying Herbs Video : Food Network (http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/drying-herbs-96752.html)

Buy ones that go in yours and I bet that you could still use them once they were used for drying herbs. No money wasted! Though, I do wonder if the smell would seep into the filters...

08-22-2016, 01:02 AM
Alas, we have the washable air filters.

I like the car method, although I will need to get better at it. I left my mint in all day :( So much controversy about the right temperature, too!

Another week now unless I do rosemary, just for giggles. But that seems better fresh.

08-22-2016, 01:42 AM
Paper bag works great.

09-11-2016, 12:09 PM
How long in a paper bag?

Im not having any success with the car-oven... After even 15 minutes, the herbs are turning an unpleasant grayish-black.

Whereas 60 seconds in the microwave is giving out perfectly crispy and green leaves.
Here is this morning's mint experiment.

So I am still questing for something that gives results as beautiful as the microwave, without using electricity.

09-13-2016, 09:38 PM
Well it will take a few days, but won't have that lovely green you got from the microwave. And only a minute? Of course, no electricity used with paper bag method. Take large paper grocery bag, lay on wide side, and just layer along the bottom. Then fold up end of bag a few times, but ok if it's not clamped shut. I dried basil recently and worked but didn't have nice green color that your microwaved mint had!

09-13-2016, 11:37 PM
Thank you for trying this out! I told my friend about it and she said, "We have a dehydrator if you want to use it." But the microwave for a minute has to use less electricity than a dehydrator that has to run for hours.

09-14-2016, 12:19 AM
The green really is beautiful, and everything stays green. Basil... and it tastes great. Not sure about mint quality since we dried it... to put it into hot water for tea.
For microwave you just let the leaves dry for a couple hours beforehand... so theyre not "wet". I saw it on youtube. and need a lot less time than they suggested.

I will try the paper bag method.

I dried dill by just leaving it out on cookie tray in the sun... a few hours and it was dried and crumbly.

Just seems not earthy-worthy to microwave em.

Relaxed Homeschooling
02-15-2017, 01:47 PM
We'll have to try this out! Our house doesn't have a lot of windows, but I believe we might be able to grow some herbs on the kitchen windowsill. It's so expensive buying fresh herbs at the grocery store. I once bought basil there to make my own pesto and it was ridiculous!