Long, long ago, in a galaxy… well, actually: Back in November at the end of our crazy mild fall (remember that? sigh…), I ran across this post from Serious Eats on using the microwave to dry herbs — and have been meaning to tell you about my experiments with this ever since! Sometimes life (and Black Friday) just intervenes, but now we’re back on track. So: Here’s How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave.
Look at the vibrant color you get when you dry herbs in the microwave! On the left in the photo above, rosemary from my garden that I dried in the microwave. On the right, organic dried rosemary I bought at the store. That’s an amazing color difference, and so pretty in recipes — I used my own microwave dried herbs on this garlic rosemary pork roast recipe earlier this month, and it really made the herb-garlic mixture pop.
You know how sometimes you buy fresh herbs for a recipe, but inevitably have some left over? Preserve those leftover herbs quickly and easily by drying them in the microwave. Here I dried rosemary and sage, but this method should work well with most heartier herbs.
How to dry herbs in the microwave
Wash the herbs, then spread the leaves on a microwave safe plate on two layers of paper towels. Note: Do NOT use recycled paper towels for this, since they may contain small fragments of metal and are not safe for microwave use.
Cover the herbs with another paper towel, the microwave on high for one minute. Follow up with 20 second bursts until herbs are completely dry and crumble easily between your fingers. (My microwave took 6-7 rounds; yours may take more or less.)
Crumble up your herbs. I found that just twisting and crushing them right inside the paper towels worked for my purposes, but if you want to reduce yours to powder you’ll want either to use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.
- Frugal note: I was able to use each set of paper towels to dry a second batch of the same herb before I had to toss them.
The herbs get nicely brittle in the microwave since the water evaporates out before the herb really starts to cook, which also helps them retain their vibrant color.
Store dried herbs in a tightly covered container in a cool dry space away from light — with the rest of your spices would be lovely. 🙂 Here, I just thoroughly washed out and repurposed old spice containers to hold my new microwave dried herbs.
Microwaving is such a quick and easy way to preserve small batches of fresh herbs! Don’t be afraid to buy fresh herbs, now that you know you can preserve the leftovers quickly and frugally. Let me know if you give it a try, and how it works for you!
More Frugal Homemade Ideas?
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