How to Dry Oregano from the Garden
Drying fresh oregano is a simple and effective way to preserve its flavor and aroma for future use. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to dry oregano using 5 methods.
Sometimes I buy fresh oregano from the grocery store and it’s too much to use up before it goes bad. The best way to make it last is to dry it.
It’s extremely easy.
If you want to learn more, read my guide on how to dry herbs, so you can preserve all of your fresh herbs.
In a nutshell, you take the oregano, tie it with a string, hang it in a dry, cold room for a week, and voila you have dried oregano.
Below I break down all of the methods you can use to dry your fresh oregano.
How to Dry Fresh Oregano
Step 1: Harvesting Oregano for Preservation
The best time to harvest oregano for drying is in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak.
Choose healthy oregano plants and use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut the oregano just above the base of the stem, leaving some stem attached to the leaves.
Avoid harvesting more than one-third of the plant to ensure it continues to grow.
Step 2: Cleaning
Gently shake or tap the harvested herbs to remove any dirt, insects, or debris.
Gently rinse the oregano under cool running water to remove any dirt or insects.
Shake off excess water or use a clean kitchen towel to pat it dry.
It’s important that the oregano is as dry as possible before drying it.
Step 3: Choose the Drying Method
There are several methods to choose from when drying oregano. Some of the methods are easy and some require special equipment.
Four of the methods dry oregano without a dehydrator.
Drying Oregano by Hanging
This is the most traditional, easy, and cost-effective method. Bundle 4-6 stems together of oregano with string or a rubber band, making a small bouquet, and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated, dry, and dark place.
Make sure the area is free from direct sunlight, as this can cause the oregano to lose flavor and color.
The drying process can take 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the humidity and airflow in your drying area. Be patient and allow the oregano to dry completely.
How to Dry Oregano in Paper Bag or Towel Method
Alternatively, you can place the oregano bundles inside a paper bag with holes punched in it or lay them out on a clean, dry towel.
Keep them in the same dark, well-ventilated area. Check the oregano regularly to ensure it’s drying evenly.
How to Dry Oregano in the Oven
This a a quicker and cost-effective way if you don’t have a dehydrator. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (usually around 170°F or 75°C). Place clean, dry oregano on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape. Check the oregano regularly, as they can dry within 1-4 hours.
How to Dry Oregano in a Dehydrator
If you have a food dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying herbs.
Generally, you’ll set the temperature to around 95°F (35°C) and allow the oregano to dry for several hours.
How to Dry Oregano in a Freeze Dryer
This is the most expensive option but it really preserves the color and flavor of the oregano.
Follow your freeze-dryer’s instructions. Arrange the oregano on trays and begin the process, which can take several hours to days.
Ensure the oregano is fully freeze-dried. When they are fully freeze-dried they will be brittle with no moisture left.
Freeze drying maintains herbs’ flavor, color, and aroma effectively, although it requires a large investment in equipment.
Step 4: Check for Dryness
To check if the oregano is dry, try crumbling a leaf between your fingers. It should easily crumble into small pieces. If it feels moist or pliable, it needs more drying time.
Step 5: How to Store Dried Oregano
Once the oregano is fully dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store them in airtight containers, glass jars, or vacuum-sealed bags.
Be sure to label the container with the date so you can keep track of its freshness.
Step 6: Store in a Cool, Dark Place
To maintain the best flavor and potency, store your dried oregano in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat.
Properly dried and stored herbs can last for several months to a year or more, depending on the type and quality of the herbs.
Step 7: How to use Dried Oregano
Fresh to Dry Oregano
If you need to substitute dried oregano for fresh oregano here’s the ratio: 1 teaspoon of dried oregano is equal to 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano.
Remember that dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor than fresh, so use them sparingly and adjust to taste.DISCLOSURE: Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader. Ditch the Wheat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only endorse products that I believe in.
Carol Lovett is the founder of Ditch the Wheat and a Globe and Mail bestselling author of the cookbook, Ditch the Wheat. She has been eating gluten free since 2010. She loves all things food, natural living, and spiritual. She’s also a reiki master and crystal healer.