If you grow your own herbs and have some healthy well-growing plants, you may eventually find yourself in the predicament of wondering what to do with all that basil, or mint, or dill, or what have you. I recently found myself in this situation after receiving an AeroGarden for Christmas. I’ve really enjoyed watching the herbs grow in my Aerogarden, but boy they have really grown!
I now have some big bushy herb plants that I feel like I’m not using up fast enough. What to do?
Make your own dried herbs!
Yes, it turns out you can dry herbs quickly at home and all you need is a microwave. It only takes a couple minutes and you’ll be rewarded with a dried version of your herbs to use in your homemade spice blends or for whatever other recipe you might want to use them in. Here’s the process I used to dry some basil and some dill, and it was super simple!
The Best Way To Dry Herbs In The Microwave
Here are the steps to dry herbs in the microwave:
1 – Put a couple layers of paper toweling on a microwave-safe plate, or on a paper plate. Place the clean and dry leaves of your herb in a single layer on the plate. Place another piece of paper toweling over the top. (The paper toweling will help wick away the moisture as you are drying the herbs).
2 – Microwave for one minute. After this first minute you should see that the herbs are starting to get a little drier and smaller, but are still not crumbly. You may wish to adjust them around on the plate a bit if needed after this first minute too.
3 – Microwave for an additional one minute. After this second minute your herbs should be much drier and you may be able to stop at this point. I did an additional 20 seconds and after that I was satisfied that they were dry enough. If you feel still more is needed, just do additional 20 second bursts as necessary.
4 – Once the herbs are dried, you can easily just crumble them with your fingers into small pieces.
5 – And then you are finished drying your herbs! You can then store them in a small jar for future use.
So the timing that worked the best for me was: 1 Minute – – 1 Minute – – 20 seconds.
If you wish to go a little slower when you dry your herbs, you can check things more often by starting with one minute, and then keep doing 15 to 30 second bursts after that until you feel the drying process is complete.
Homemade Dry Basil and Dill
If you too want to preserve some fresh basil, dill, parsley or other fresh herb, I think you’ll find this microwave method to be a really quick and easy solution. It only takes a few minutes of your time and the result is dried herbs that you can keep for many months and use as you would any other dried herb from the grocery store.
The only thing I would note is that what seems like a lot of leaves when you start, ends up being a rather small pile of dried herbs when you’re done. You will probably have about a teaspoon or two of dried herbs for each plateful you microwave. Nevertheless, I’m still happy that I was able to make my own dried basil and dill, and next I’ll be doing some parsley! It took very little time and effort and allowed me to be a little frugal too by keeping my fresh herbs from going to waste.
Yup, learning how to dry herbs at home in the microwave is easy and cheap – and that’s my favorite kind of “make your own” project!