When I started embracing mint tea ten years ago, I didn’t know how to grow and keep stocked up during winter. I researched how to grow mint and dry leaves in winter until they regrow in spring.
Today, I will show you several ways on how to dry fresh mint for tea.
There’re numerous ways of drying mint for tea, food recipes or even beauty products.
Some common methods are oven drying, air drying, use of a dehydrator, and more.
Dried mint leaves can preserve essential oils, flavors, and color from the plant for several months. In fact, studies show that dried herbal leaves can last for years for use in tea or other beauty products.
The tips in this guide on how to dry mint leaves at home are also applicable for other herbal tea leaves. If you are an herbal tea enthusiast, you have come to the right place. We are here to help you overcome the struggle of stocking yourself in adverse weather conditions
How Can I Grow Mint at Home?
Mint plants are some of the easiest herbs to grow at home. These herbs are hardy perennials and have vigorous growth habits.
This flavorful culinary herb is grown with minimal care. The herb usually spreads out quickly and becomes a nuisance to control.
We recommend growing the herb in a confined space like pots. The herb is an excellent ground cover and produces attractive pinkish flowers.
You can grow mint herbs both indoors and outdoors. Start growing seeds indoors before transplanting them outdoors.
Sow mint seeds outdoors in the late spring. Germination of seeds takes about 10 to 15 days. Remember to keep the soil moist until germination occurs. Full-grown herbs will reach harvestable size within two months.
How to Care for Growing Mint Plants
Mint herbs are easy to grow and maintain. You do not need an agricultural college degree to start planting mint seeds or any other herb.
Below are crucial requirements for growing and caring for mint plants at home:
- Light Requirement
Mint plants thrive in areas that receive indirect sunlight. But you can still grow this culinary herb under direct if you regularly water it.
The plant can survive indoors and under the shade. Ensure it receives filtered light that helps in fostering photosynthesis and green coloration.
- Soil Requirements
Mint plants flourish in nutritious soil, which is slightly acidic. The soil pH should range between 6.5 and 7.0. Soil with poor aeration will affect its growth rate.
Use organic matter and fertilizer to top-dress the herbs during mid-season after shearing. The nutrients will help the plant to spread quickly.
- Water Requirement
Mint herb thrives in high moisture soil with proper drainage. However, this culinary herb cannot tolerate soggy and wet soil.
Always test the soil dryness before watering. We recommend watering the plant in the morning to allow absorption before the sun hits out in the afternoon.
- Fertilizer Application
Mint plants are not heavy feeders. But the plant grows faster in rich soil. We recommend the use of organic fertilizer to boost the flavors of the herb.
Apply all-purpose liquid fertilizer in early spring. It is the period when new growth emerges from the plant. Apply fertilizer every four to six weeks throughout the growing period.
- Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Mint plants come in different species. Each species has different hardiness traits. But mint plants are adaptable regardless of the growing condition.
Mint herb can tolerate both cold and hot weather temperatures. Regular misting of mint plants when grown indoors is recommendable. The plant prefers high humidity.
What are the Different Varieties of Mint Plants?
The different varieties of mint plants include:
It is a hybrid mint type rich in menthol content. The intense flavors make the herb excellent for making beverages. Chewing gums and toothpaste products are made from dried mint leaves recipes.
The mint variety has large leaves and is grown in Israel. It has neutral mint flavors ideal for culinary recipes such as dishes, drinks, and tea. The herb is readily available, and it is super easy to grow regardless of the weather condition.
The mint species is common and packs with versatile flavors. The mint comes with a lot of health benefits and ideal for many culinary recipes. Spearmint is the best option for herbal tea enthusiasts.
It is yet another hybrid type of mint. It is packed with different flavors, such as chocolate, apple, and pineapple. These flavored herbs have specific purposes. Dried mint leaves use depend on the available recipe.
The most popular mint herb in India. The household name is derived from the famous Indian cuisine known as ‘Pudine Ki Chutney.’ The mint variety has medicinal properties for making various Ayurvedic formulations to treat stomach issues.
Why Use Mint for Tea and in Cooking?
Mint is a popular culinary herb in many Middle East dishes. You can either use fresh or dried leaves to give your dish a nice refreshing flavor.
It can also be used in making chewing gums and toothpaste products. Thanks to the natural breath freshener properties. The combination of garlic and onions makes it a real deal.
Mint herb is rich in medicinal properties that have the following health benefits:
- Reduce absorption of sodium.
- Menthol properties help to fight cold flu.
- Aid stomach upset and indigestion issues.
- Prevention of oxidation stress due to the antioxidant properties.
- Anti-inflammatory properties help to alleviate allergy symptoms.
When to Harvest Mint
Harvest mint leaves should commence when the plant has multiple stems that are about 6 to 8 cm long. The best time is when the plant is about two months old after growing from seeds.
We recommend harvest mint leaves in the morning before the essential oils evaporate due to the sun. It also helps to prevent premature drying out of the plant during its prime time.
Avoid harvesting more than one-third of the herb at a time. It will also help to prevent the weakening of the plant and foster stunted growth.
You only need to snip leaves and sprigs. Limit harvest of the mint plants more often to allow shearing in the mid-season. Cut the herb to on-third once you notice stems getting longer and leaves shorter.
Cutting encourages sprouting of new foliage with good size. Learning how to dry mint for tea at home is crucial after harvesting.
How to Dry Fresh Mint Leaves for Tea
Dried mint leaves have a lovely aroma and taste. It is suitable for making herbal tea, garnishing, and seasoning in various culinary recipes. Learning how to dry mint leaves for tea is simple.
Continue reading the article to learn how to prepare and dry mint leaves for tea or seasoning in various dishes. Below are some of the crucial tips to consider:
Rinsing and Preparation
Harvest mint leaves in the morning after the dew has dried. Remember to harvest the mint before it reaches the flowering stage. Use a sharp knife or garden pruner to harvest mint leaves.
Shake the mint plant branches before cutting the leaves. It helps to remove any hiding insects from the branches. Cut about one-third of the third to give plant strength to grow back.
Mint herb that is yet to reach the flowering stage is rich in aroma and taste. The essential oils make mint tea a real gem.
Rinse the mint branches in cold running water. Pat the branches dry with a paper towel. Or unstack the stems and leaves to allow air to dry for one to two hours.
Separate the leaves from the stalk and discard damaged ones. You may opt to leave the stems if you are looking to air dry using natural sunlight.
Other methods for drying fresh mint leaves require the removal of stalks. These parts of the leaves usually take a long time to dry out when compared to the foliage.
How Do You Air Dry Mint Leaves for Tea?
Air drying is the most popular method. It is the best way to dry mint leaves for tea since it upholds the plant’s natural ingredients.
Air drying mint leaves for tea is a no-brainer task. You only need to apply common sense and be a little creative when using this natural method.
Below are the proven steps on how to dry fresh mint leaves for tea:
- Gather Mint Leaves in Bundles
Separate the harvested mint into small bundles. Use a thick string to tie each bundle. Ensure the bunch is tightened at the stem section and expose all the leaves.
- Hang the Bunches in a Dark, Warm, and Ventilated Space
Tie the end of the thick string on a hanger. Place it in a well-ventilated and warm room that receives little light. Ensure the mint leaves hang upside down.
Hanging the mint leaves upside down helps the aroma and flavors to flow into the leaves. It will no longer gather in the stems. Remember to keep the room at 68oF (20oC).
- Strip Leaves from the Stems
Wait for two weeks to elapse while the mint leaves are drying. Remove the mint from the hanger and strip the leaves onto a plate.
Use one hand to hold the stalk tip and pull down the leaves using the other hand. Snip the tip without using a sharp knife.
- Store the Dried Mint Leaves
Grab a dry glass container and place the dried mint leaves inside it. Airtight the bottle with a top to prevent the entry of air moisture.
Boil water and crumble a few mint leaves into it. Allow the leaves to steep and strain out using a sieve. Discard the residue and enjoy your herbal tea.
How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea in The Oven?
Oven drying is the quickest method on how to dry mint tea leaves at home. It is the best way to dry mint leaves for tea in temperate regions.
You need to be extra careful when oven drying the mint leaves. The chances of burning the leaves are quite high. Burnt leaves usually destroy the aroma and flavors.
Below are quick tips on how to dry mint leaves in the oven:
- Preheat the Oven to about 140oF(60oC)
Put the oven into the lowest heat setting for preheating purposes. High temperatures might ruin the flavors, aroma, and taste of the mint leaves.
Besides that, high temperature will dry the mint leaves quickly and even burn them. The preheating temperature should not exceed 200oF(93oC).
- Switch Off the Oven
Turn off the oven once it has attained the preheating temperature. Allow the oven to sit for five minutes to reduce the temperature.
The purpose is to prevent mint leaves from drying out excessively. Too much heat makes the mint leaves lose flavors and aroma.
- Spread the Leaves on the Baking Sheet
Arrange the leaves in a single layer onto the baking sheet. Congesting the leaves will hinder even drying out. It also helps to prevent exposing some leaves to excess heat.
We recommend drying mint leaves of the same size in an oven. Small leaves are prone to get burnt more than large leaves.
Avoid using cooking spray while drying the mint leaves. You can use parchment paper together with a baking sheet.
- Dry the Mint Leaves in Warm Oven
Place the mint leaves into a warm oven. Allow the leaves to dry for about five to twenty minutes. Keep checking to avoid over-drying the mint leaves and making them turn brown.
The green mint leaves should curl up and become crispy. It is an indicator that the mint has been dried according to the required standards.
- Storing Dried Mint Leaves
Get a dry large glass jar. Pour the dried mint leaves into it. Close with a bottle top to prevent the entry of air moisture. Entry of moisture will result in decomposition.
Bring water to boil and crumble dried mint leaves into it. Allow it to steep for three minutes and strain out. Add sugar or honey to the liquid and enjoy your herbal tea.
How to Dry Mint Leaves in Microwave?
Microwave drying is another excellent method of drying mint leaf for tea at home. The procedure for drying mint leaves for tea microwaves is simple.
Below are quick steps on how to dry mint for tea using a microwave:
- Spread Mint Leaves onto Microwave Plate
Spread the leaves in a single layer on the microwave plate. Do not allow the leaves to overlap since it might ruin even drying out.
Keeping leaves in a single layer fosters a faster drying out process without distorting the flavors and aromatic oils.
- Keep Checking the Leaves Every 10 Seconds
Place the plate containing the leaves into a microwave. Cook the leaves and check if the leaves become curly and crispy every 10 seconds.
Mint leaves might take about 5 to 45 seconds to dry out. The microwave drying method is not the best option since it results in uneven drying.
- Storing the Dried Mint Leaves
Transfer the dried mint leaves into a clean and airtight container. Sealing the container inhibits the entry of moisture that might ruin the taste and flavors of the mint tea.
Store the container in a cool, dry, and dark place. Avoid using papers in the container since they will absorb the flavors from the mint.
How to Dry Mint Leaves in A Dehydrator?
A food dehydrator is another excellent place for drying fresh mint leaves for tea. It forms the easiest and quickest method for drying mint leaves at home.
Below are the quickest tips to consider on how to dry mint for tea using a food dehydrator:
- Spread Mint Leaves on the Dehydrator Trays
Place mint leaves on a single layer onto the dehydrator trays. The purpose is to ensure they receive the same amount of heat to enhance even dryness.
Avoid stacking the leaves together since the same may dry earlier than others. The task of removing dry leaves can be a daunting experience.
- Switch the Dehydrator to Low Setting
Turn the dehydrator to low heat settings to enhance uniform heating. It also helps to prevent the burning of soft mint leaves. Keep checking the device during the dehydration process.
Remove empty dehydrating trays from the gadget to create more room. It also enhances air circulation to the mint leaves while getting dried.
- Dehydrate Until Dry
Check the mint leaves every five minutes to spot the curling and crispy appearance. Remove the mint from the trays once they are ready.
Grab a dry canning jar and place the leaves inside it. Seal and airtight to prevent the entry of moisture. You can label it in case you have several containers of herbal tea products.
How to Dry Mint Leaves in an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is suitable for dehydrating foods. But you can also use the device to dry out your mint leaves for tea. You need to be super careful when using this cooking device.
Below are tips on how to dry mint leaves for tea:
- Spread the mint leaves on parchment paper.
- Place the parchment paper in the air fry basket.
- Switch on the gadget and set it to the lowest setting.
- Keep checking the mint leaves after every two minutes.
- Turn off the air fryer and remove the mint leaves.
- Place the curly and crispy mint leaves into a container.
- Seal it to prevent entry to moisture to ruin the aromatic oils and flavors
How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea Using a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is another option for drying mint leaves for tea. The machine releases warm air that helps to dry out the mint leaves.
If you are looking for the quickest method for drying mint, consider turning on a dehumidifier. The instrument will not only warm the house in winter but also dry out mint for tea.
Here are tips on how to dry mint leaves for tea with a dehumidifier:
- Switch on the Dehumidifier
Run a dehumidifier machine to remove moisture from the air. The condition around the machine will be warm due to dry air. It will later play a crucial role in drying mint leaves.
- Place the Mint Leaves on a Cake Cooling Rack
Spread mint leaves onto a cake cooling rack. Ensure the leaves are in a single layer to avoid overlapping since this will hinder even drying out. The rack allows free circulation of air from the bottom to the top.
- Place the Cooling Rack in Front of the Dehumidifier
Dry the mint leaves on the rack by placing them in front of the machine. The region has the warmest and driest air ideal for drying the mint for tea.
It will take one or two days for the leaves to dry. Dried mint leaves are curl and crispy. Pour the dried mint leaves in a sealed and airtight container to avoid entry of moisture.