Last updated on November 24th, 2023 at 09:46 pm
Drying fresh mint leaves for tea is very easy. If you have a mint patch, or even just a few mint plants in pots, you can harvest, dry, and use your mint in tea. Learn how to dry mint leaves for tea, and enjoy the wonderful mint flavour from this home grown herb.
One of the things I love about mint, besides the taste, is just how easy this plant is to grow.
Within no time at all the stems are stretching towards the light, growing tall and ready for a haircut. This is the perfect time to give them a trim.
You can then dry the leaves to use in all sorts of recipes, and especially for delicious mint herbal tea.
The mint stems can grow very quickly, and harvesting from the plant just makes it grow bushier.
Mint is a perennial aromatic herb, and with the right care you can have mint in your life for many years. The fragrant minty leaves can be used fresh or dried, and have many uses.
Harvesting and drying the leaves will allow you to use the mint on an ongoing basis, throughout all seasons, and especially in the colder off season months when the mint is not in active growth.
Can I Dry Fresh Mint For Tea?
Not only can you dry fresh mint leaves for tea, but the process is very simple and quick. There are a number of ways to dry the leaves, depending on the availability of different drying options.
Perhaps the simplest and best way is to just hang the mint to dry. This does take a little longer than the other drying techniques, however if you are not in a rush, it is definitely the easiest way.
If you have a lot of mint to dry, it is definitely the way to go.
However if you also want to dry some mint fairly quickly, there are a number of options to get this done with little effort, and in no time at all.
Is Fresh Or Dried Mint Better For Tea?
Both fresh and dried mint are good options for tea.
One is not better than the other, and both are good choices for tea, depending on what you have on hand.
If you are using dried mint from your garden, and have preserved it to use in the off season, it is the perfect choice for a refreshing drink. It’s always good to have dried mint on hand, and it is so easy to make tea anytime you are in the mood.
However if you also have fresh mint available, it is another great option to make tea from as well.
Tea from fresh leaves is quite delicious, and fresh mint tea is very refreshing. If you crush the leaves as they are steeping in the tea, this will release the mint oils into the tea and enhance the fresh minty flavour.
Use whatever you have on hand, and enjoy the mint flavour from both tea choices.
What Type Of Mint Is Best For Tea?
Mint tea can be made from dried peppermint or spearmint leaves.
Most commercially prepared mint teas are made from peppermint, and peppermint tea is a favourite of many.
If drying your own mint for storing in the kitchen, likely spearmint is the better option.
Dried spearmint is the most versatile mint for drying and having on hand in the spice rack, as it can also be used to enhance the flavours of many other recipes, and is not only used for tea.
Harvesting Mint For Drying
To dry mint leaves, you first need to harvest them by cutting the stems and leaves from the plant.
If harvesting from a potted plant indoors, the timing of the harvest does not matter.
If however you are harvesting from the garden, make sure to cut in the morning or evening, which are usually the cooler parts of the day. This is the best time to harvest mint.
Try to avoid cutting mint leaves in the heat of the midday sun.
Depending on the length of the stems on the plant, trim the available stems while also leaving part of each stem on the plant to regrow. Cut the stems approximately 4 to 5 inches from the ground.
The plant will bounce back from the harvest, pushing out new stems, and filling out and becoming bushy again.
If harvesting from the garden, place the stems in a container, and bring them inside to wash.
Wash the mint by rinsing with cold water. Rinse thoroughly if you have harvested from the garden, to remove any dirt and bugs.
Place in a colander to strain. Allow to sit in the colander for ten minutes to drain excess water.
You can also use a salad spinner to remove the excess moisture from the leaves.
After draining, place on a baker’s rack to dry. The rack allows for good air circulation which helps with the drying process.
You can also place a kitchen towel on top of the rack to help absorb moisture, before placing the rinsed mint onto the rack.
How To Dry Mint Leaves
There are a number of different methods to dry the mint leaves. Let’s review different options, and some common methods for drying.
How Do You Air Dry Mint Leaves For Tea
- If you have a lot of mint to dry, air drying is definitely the easiest way to accomplish this task on a larger scale.
- Similar to hanging flowers to dry upside down, the mint is bundled and hung upside down until dry. The principles of hanging the stems to dry are much the same.
- Make bunches of mint with similar length stems, and secure the bunches with elastic bands. A rubber band will continue to hold the stems as they dry and shrink, and is a good idea to use, versus just tying the bunches with string.
- Hang the bunches upside down in a dry place and in a dark location. Allow air circulation between the bunches, especially if you have a few of them.
- You can hang on a drying line or rack, or over any object with a hook or a knob. The key is to keep them out of direct sunlight and in an area that is dry.
- It will take approximately two weeks to air dry the mint in this manner. When the leaves are completely dry, they will be very crispy and easily crumble when handled.
- If the leaves are not crispy, leave them to dry a little longer. Sometimes humidity in the air can prolong drying time.
How To Dry Mint Leaves In The Dehydrator
- It is very easy to dry mint in a food dehydrator. The drying time is also quick, compared with air drying.
- It is easier to cut the leaves off the stem and place the individual leaves in a single layer on the dehydrator racks for dehydrating. However, if the leaves are very small they may eventually begin to blow around as they are dehydrating in the machine.
- Placing the stems with leaves attached into the dehydrator is also an option, and will help to prevent the leaves from blowing around inside the dehydrator unit.
- Dehydrate at 135°F for two hours, or until dry.
- The leaves will be completely dry and very crispy to the touch when done.
- Remove from the dehydrator and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Store the dried mint leaves in an airtight container.
How To Dry Mint Leaves For Tea In The Oven
- Oven drying is simple and easy, and a great way to quickly dry and process your mint leaves.
- Dry mint leaves in the oven at your lowest heat setting, for which mine was 170°F.
- Place the mint stems with attached leaves on a baking tray or cookie sheet, and place in the oven.
- Drying time will vary depending on the size of the leaves and oven temperature.
- My mint was completely dry and crispy at 1.5 hours.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Remove the leaves from the stems, and store in an airtight container.
How To Dry Mint Leaves In The Air Fryer
- Drying mint leaves in the air fryer is similar to drying in the dehydrator.
- Dry only in the air fryer if you have an air fryer unit with a dehydrator setting.
- Dry at 135°F for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Keep in mind that different air fryers will have different drying times, so it’s important to determine the drying time for your own machine by checking on the mint as you go through the drying process.
- Leave the leaves attached to the stem when drying in the air fryer, because if you separate them they will blow all around the unit as they are drying.
- The mint leaves become very lightweight when they are dry, and are easily blown around by the forceful fan of the air fryer.
- Once dried, remove from the air fryer and allow the dried leaves to cool down.
- Store in an airtight container.
How To Store Dried Mint Leaves
- If you have dried your mint leaves on the stems, and they are now crispy, they are ready for storage.
- Store dried mint leaves in an airtight container, such as a glass jar.
- I like to use mason jars, as they are great to display and provide airtight storage.
- Once the mint is completely dry and crispy, pull the leaves from the stems. You can do this by hand, or with a pair of scissors.
- If you have dried the mint leaves off the stems from the beginning of the drying process, gather up the dried leaves and place them in the jars or containers for storage.
- Label the jars with the name of the mint and the date of storage.
- Store in a dry dark place.
How Long Does Dried Mint Last?
The shelf life of dried mint is dependent on how well it has been dried and stored.
Dried mint should last for a year if dried and stored correctly.
You will likely have to dry lots of mint to have enough of it for this length of time.
We tend to use it up fairly quickly during the off season, and always look forward to drying more to replenish the supply next growing season.
How To Make Tea From Dried Mint Leaves
Making homemade mint tea from your own dried mint leaves is a such a wonderful experience.
Grown and harvested with love, there is nothing quite like the refreshing and rewarding taste of your own homegrown mint tea.
The best method to make the tea is to place the dried leaves into a tea ball or a reusable tea infuser and place into a cup.
Boil water, pour into your cup, and allow the ball containing the dried mint leaves to steep in the hot water for peak flavor.
The more leaves used, and the longer the infusion time, the stronger the flavour.
How Long Do You Steep Dried Mint Tea?
Allow the tea to steep for several minutes or longer before enjoying the wonderful mint drink.
Five minutes of steeping time should provide a nice infusion.
You can also cover the cup while the tea is steeping to help to lock in the flavour of the tea.
Mint is a favorite herb for drying and making tea.
You just can’t beat drying and using your own mint from your garden, for a wonderful refreshing tea at any time of the year.
Drying mint is very easy, and does not take a long time to complete the process from harvesting to drying.
Store in an airtight container, and you will be able to savour your dried mint in both tea, as well as other recipes, all year long.
Although dried mint is a favourite for tea, it can also be used in many other ways.
Consider orange mint, chocolate mint and apple mint to give just a few examples.
Add the crushed dry mint to salad dressings.
Crush it and use it in cold citrus drinks, or put it in salads or soups. You can even sprinkle it on yogurt for a refreshing mint flavour.
Mint has been used throughout the ages for it’s beneficial properties, so it’s definitely a herb to keep on hand.
A wonderful homegrown dried herb from the garden, mint is a great addition to any pantry.
Have you tried to dry mint leaves for tea? Be sure to leave a comment below to share your experience!