Dried Mint like many of the spices and herbs that sit in the spice rack abandoned and begging “Pick Me! Pick Me!” are never noticed until you need them for a recipe. You then remember that you used the last of the containers contents three months ago and never purchased a replacement jar of the spice or herb.
This happened to us recently and the thought of going to the grocery store during rush hour traffic was not on my top list of priorities. Just as it was not a viable option to do without the dried mint. I then remembered one summer when my potted Basil had gone to seed and I had harvested the remaining leaves and dried them in the microwave. I asked myself why I could not do the same with Mint leaves.
I have this Mint plant growing in a pot on the patio and it has survived for three years despite some serious neglect and inattention. Yet, whenever I am in need of fresh mint leaves, I know where to go. I go outside with my scissors and talk nice to the Mint plant as I prepare to give it a long overdue trimming. For good measure after I finished cutting off a large handful of mint sprigs, I watered the plant and say to it, “I will see you in a couple of months.”
To make dried mint from fresh mint leaves is a simple activity:
- Wash the mint sprigs.
- Remove the leaves from the stem.
- Shake the leaves dry in a colander.
- On a couple sheets of paper towel, evenly spread the mint.
- Cover the mint with another sheet of paper towel and place in the microwave.
- Set the time for three minutes and the microwave setting on High.
- Remove the mint from the microwave. The leaves should be dried. If not, microwave them for another 30 seconds.
- With your hands, crush the leaves into a bowl. You now have Dried Mint.
Of the three alternatives to making your own dried mint at home, microwaving the leaves is the easiest, but not the best from the perspective of quality. For some reason, drying the leaves in the microwave quickly releases the oil. The recommended process to prepare dried mint at home is to either dry mint leaves in the sun or to slowly dry them in the oven / toaster oven. However, in a pinch when time is of the essence, drying mint leaves in the microwave serves its purpose.