Drying oregano is easy, and one of the best ways to preserve your harvest. In this post, I’ll show you 4 different ways to do it, and walk you through exactly how to dry fresh oregano step by step, as well as tips for storing it.
Whether you have it growing in your garden, or you want to preserve leftovers from the store, drying fresh oregano is simple. Plus it gives you a zesty spice that you can use in your kitchen for cooking.
The best thing about doing it yourself is that it will have even more flavor than the stuff that you buy at the store. Plus, it will last much longer than fresh, so it is a budget-friendly choice too.
There are a few different methods you can use, and each of them has their own pros and cons. This guide will answer all of your questions about how to dry oregano.
Here’s what you’ll find in this step by step guide…
What Part Do You Dry?
The best part of the oregano plant to dry is the leaves. Though the whole plant is edible, the leaves have the best and strongest flavor.
But it is easier to dry the entire sprig, stem and all, than it is to remove all the leaves first. So keep that in mind when you’re deciding which method to try.
Related Post: 6 Ways To Dry Herbs The Right Way
How Long Does It Take To Dry Fresh Oregano?
The length of time it takes to dry fresh oregano depends on the method you use. Some are faster than others.
Generally speaking, if you use the air-drying method, it could take a month. If you use the oven or the microwave, it only takes an hour or less.
How To Dry Oregano
The purpose of drying oregano is to remove all the moisture from the leaves. Then, you can crumble it and store it in a jar for your spice rack.
There are four main methods you can use, and I’ll explain each one in detail below. All of them use some form of heat or air for removing the moisture from the leaves.
Methods For Drying Oregano
You don’t need any fancy equipment to dry fresh oregano. In fact, you can do it without any electricity at all.
From traditional air-drying, to using a microwave or food dehydrator, here are the most popular methods you can try.
Traditional Air-Drying Method
The air-drying method takes the longest, but it is also the most low-tech option. There are two ways to do it. You can hang bunches of it upside down, or you can lay it on a drying rack.
Individual sprigs or leaves will be ready much faster than large bunches, which could take up to a month to dry completely.
Here is how to use the air-drying method:
- Loosely tie the stems together into a bouquet with twine or string, leaving one end long for hanging.
- Hang the bundle upside down from an herb rack, cabinet, or hook.
- Alternatively, you could lay the pieces out on a countertop or hanging rack so they aren’t touching each other.
- Place them in a cool, dry location with good air circulation, and away from direct sunlight.
- Check on them every few days for doneness, and to make sure they aren’t molding.
Using this method, it should be completely dried in about two weeks. If the area where you put it is humid, it will take longer.
A quicker method for drying oregano that only takes an hour or less is the oven technique. Be sure to keep it on the lowest heat setting, because you don’t want to burn or roast them.
You can use either full springs, or just the leaves. The largest stems will take the longest, while the individual leaves will dry out much faster.
Here is how to use the oven method:
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F, or the lowest setting possible.
- Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (placing them directly on a metal baking sheet can discolor them).
- Spread them out so there is space between each one, then place the cookie sheet into the oven.
- Stir or flip them every 5 minutes to prevent burning, and remove any pieces that are done.
How To Dry Oregano In The Microwave
An even faster method of drying oregano is to use your microwave. This is completely safe, and takes just a few minutes.
Here’s how to use your microwave:
- Place the pieces in a single layer on paper plate or towel so they aren’t touching each other.
- Microwave them on high for one minute, then check to see if they are ready.
- If not, microwave them again in 20-second bursts, checking them each time, and removing the ones that crumble easily.
Drying Oregano In A Food Dehydrator
The safest method is to use for drying oregano is a food dehydrator. You basically set it, and the dehydrator does the rest.
It takes a couple of hours, but the benefits are that you can’t burn it, and it will also keep the most flavor in the leaves.
Here is how to use a food dehydrator to dry oregano:
- Arrange the pieces in a single layer on the dehydrator sheets or trays so that there’s space in between them.
- Set it on the lowest temperature, ideally somewhere between 95-115 degrees F. Or use the “herbs” setting if yours has that.
- Check on them hourly, and remove any pieces that are done.
Tips For Getting The Best Results
Always follow these tips to make sure that your oregano dries with the most possible flavor intact. They will give you the best results, no matter which method you use.
- Any part of the plant (except the roots) can be used for drying, though the leaves are the best because they are tender and hold the most flavor.
- After washing it, pat it dry until there’s no moisture left on them. This will prevent molding, and ensure the quickest results.
- Only use healthy-looking leaves. Toss out any that are diseased, yellow, brown, or have deformities or spots on them.
How To Store Dried Oregano
It is very important to store dried oregano correctly so that it lasts longer. The best way is to keep it in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
You can either crumble the leaves or store them whole. If you want to make it easy to crush them, I suggest using a spice grinder.
How Long Does Dried Oregano Last?
When stored properly, dried oregano can last for many years, it never goes bad. However, the flavor and fragrance will naturally fade over time.
If you keep it in a sealed, airtight container, it will retain its flavor for 1-3 years. But for the freshest supply, I recommend replenishing it annually, and discarding the old stuff.
Before you start your first batch, here are some questions people often ask about drying oregano. Your question might just be in this list. But if not, ask it in the comments below.
Can you dry oregano flowers?
Yes, you can dry oregano flowers. Though they are edible, the blooms don’t contain much flavor. So most people like to preserve them because they make pretty decorations, and not because they want to eat them.
What temperature should you dry oregano?
The best temperature to dry oregano in the oven is 200°F. In a dehydrator it should be between 95-115°F.
Take care not to use too high of a temperature in the oven, or you risk burning it – which can happen very quickly.
Do you wash oregano before drying?
You do not need to wash oregano before drying it. However, since they usually grow very close to the ground, they tend to get fairly dirty.
So, it’s best to give them a quick rinse to wash off any dirt. Then use a paper or kitchen towel to pat them dry. If you rub them you might bruise the leaves, so be very careful.
Drying fresh oregano is the best way to preserve it so you can use it all year round. Whether you use choose to air dry it, use an oven, the microwave, or a food dehydrator, you’ll see just how easy it is to keep your spice rack consistently stocked.
More About Food Preservation
- How To Dry Cayenne Peppers To Prepare For Storage
- Freezing Fresh Chives The Right Way
- How To Preserve & Store Basil (Leaves Or Stems)
Share your tips for how to dry oregano, or your favorite method in the comments section below.