Refreshing mint tea is an all time favorite for herbal tea lovers. After a long tiring day, sipping a cup of this flavorful tea gives a relaxed feeling. You can use fresh and dried leaves of both spearmint and peppermint for making mint tea. While the flavor of fresh mint leaf tea is anytime superior to dried mint tea, many people prefer using dried leaves. That way, you don't need to harvest fresh mint every time from the vegetable garden, or purchase it from the grocery center for preparing tea.
Tips on How to Dry Mint Leaves
Mint or mentha is an easy to grow herb that spreads quickly. No wonder, it is available throughout the year. If you have it in your vegetable garden, you can collect fresh twigs just before flowering by cutting them above the ground level. This is the time when aromatic herbs are at their peak flavor. Also, consider harvesting mint leaves in the morning, after the dew has evaporated. While purchasing this herb, select fresh ones that are uniformly green. Other than these considerations, drying mint leaves is very easy.
Here are some basic guidelines concerning different methods to dry mint leaves, and tips on how to go about drying mint leaves.
- For drying mint leaves, all you need is gathering some simple supplies and keeping a watchful eye to check the drying herb. To start with, clean the mint twigs by placing them directly under cool running water, at a low speed. You can hold one branch at a time for thorough cleaning.
- While washing, retain fresh leaves in the stems. Ensure that the leaves and branches are free of soil, dust, bug and unwanted particles. Place them in an absorbent towel and add in a colander to drain off excess moisture, which otherwise will slow down the drying process.
- The next step for how to dry mint leaves is, selecting the drying method. Depending upon the available supplies and time requirement, you can decide one of the three common methods for drying mint leaves, which sounds convenient for you. The first is regular air drying, second is oven drying and third is drying in a dehydrator.
- Air drying is a simple method that involves tying mint twigs tightly in small bunches with the help of cotton strings, adding them in paper bags, and hanging them from a height. The leaves get dried slowly after being exposed to internal air circulation and indoor heat.
- The bags filled with mint bunches should be hanged in a warm (temperature falling between 70 - 80° F), dark and well-ventilated room. Check the twigs on a regular basis for signs of mold growth. Under warm temperature and full ventilation, they will dry within 1 - 2 weeks.
- Speaking on how to dry mint leaves in microwave oven, it is a shortcut method of air drying. Requiring less time, this approach is excellent, if you don't have time and want to make dried mint leaves within a few days. For this method, remove individual mint leaves, while leaving the young branches intact with the leaves.
- Place the leaves and young branches in a cookie sheet. Or else you can add them in 1 - 2 layers in a shallow, microwave safe pan. Adjust the heat setting of the oven to low, preferably 180° F. Add the leaves and keep the oven open for 2 - 4 hours, while checking in between.
- For drying mint leaves in a dehydrator, snip off the older leaves, as you do for oven drying method. In the dehydrator tray, arrange the leaves and young stems in a single layer. Set temperature to the lowest level and continue drying mint, until the leaves are dried properly.
- In terms of dried mint leaf flavor, air drying preserves maximum aroma and essential oil than the remaining two methods of drying mint leaves. However, the choice is up to your convenience. Add the dried mint in an airtight container, and keep in a cool and dry area.
This is how you can proceed with the different methods for drying mint leaves. With dried mint leaves at hand, you can use them for an extended time and brew a refreshing tea anytime. Use a full rounded spoon of this dried herb for preparing a cup of spearmint tea. And if you are interested in drying other leafy herbs, apply the above mentioned instructions. Dried mint leaves blend well with green tea leaves, and are used together in Moroccan mint tea recipes.