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How to dry sage (4 reliable methods and essential tips)

Let’s be honest, we have this habit of overbuying ingredients and aromatics for our recipes. And we already know the result–leftovers!

Sometimes having leftovers, especially those fresh herbs, is an advantage for me because I can preserve their flavor using different drying methods. 

I successfully dried oregano and basil in the past and I found this whole drying journey entertaining and satisfying! 

And if I can, you can do it too!

Remove your leftover worries by unlocking four of the best methods for drying fresh sage, from microwaving down to oven drying.

This walkthrough guide also gives you insight into how to properly store your dried sage leaves plus the essential tips and tricks. 

But before I reveal the various methods of drying sage leaves, I’m going to tackle first what this aromatic herb is and how it’s going to elevate your recipes at home. 

Just its brothers and sisters–oregano, rosemary, basil, and thyme–sage is considered as a staple herb used in various cuisines throughout the globe. 

Sage, which belongs to the mint family, has a strong aroma with an earthy undertone and a sweet yet savory flavor profile. 

When it’s in dried form, the herb’s flavor becomes more concentrated with a hint of bitterness. 

This splendid herb is used to flavor many dishes ranging from roast pork to sausages to Thanksgiving turkeys. Plus, it complements other staple ingredients like onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.

How to dry sage in a microwave

I often use this drying technique when I’m in a rush for dried sage leaves. Drying the leaves using a microwave is a little bit tricky so make sure to carefully follow the steps below to avoid scorching them.

  1. I often use this drying technique when I’m in a rush for dried sage leaves. Drying the leaves using a microwave is a little bit tricky so make sure to carefully follow the steps below to avoid scorching them. 
  2. Wash the fresh sage leaves and make sure the excess water is removed. Skip this step if they’re clean. 
  3. Place a paper towel flat on a microwaveable plate. 
  4. Arrange the sage on the paper towel and add another towel on top. Don’t overcrowd it. 
  5. Microwave the leaves on high power for around 1 minute then follow it with 15-second increments.
  6. Remove them from the microwave and let them cool for a few minutes. 
  7. Store the leaves in an airtight container or glass herb jar.

How to dry sage in a food dehydrator

Drying out sage using a food dehydrator is your best pick if you’re planning to dry tons of leaves. This method is also one of the most reliable ways of drying sage. 

Just make sure to keep your racks clean and dry for the best quality and result.

  1. Wash the fresh sage leaves and make sure the excess water is removed. Skip this step if they’re clean. 
  2. Arrange the leaves on the rack or drying screen. Make sure to create a space between them for air to circulate.
  3. Place the screen in the dehydrator and set it to between 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait until completely dried. 
  4. Remove the tray and let them cool. 
  5. Store the dried sage leaves in an airtight container or glass herb jar.

How to dry sage using the hang-drying method

Another great way you can use to dry sage is the bunch drying or hang drying method. However, you can only use this drying technique during dry and hot days with low humidity. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Wash the sage if it’s unclean. 
  2. Group five to ten stems of sage and tie them together with a rubber band. 
  3. Place the bundles inside a brown paper bag. 
  4. Tear holes all over the sides of the paper bag using a pen to allow the air to flow in and out. 
  5. Hang the bag upside down inside a room that has air circulation. 
  6. Store them in an airtight container or glass herb jar.

Pro tip: Drying oregano and basil using this method is possible too! Also, make sure not to hang the sage leaves above the stove so it won’t damage its flavor.

How to dry sage in an oven

Using your conventional oven is a fantastic way to dry sage at home. 

Drying the leaves in the oven gives you the best result and the process doesn’t take too much effort. 

Follow these steps to learn how to dry sage using the oven method:

  1. Wash the herbs if it’s dusty and make sure to remove the excess water. If it’s clean, leave it as is.
  2. Put the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  3. Set the oven to the lowest temperature and let the leaves dry for 30 minutes. 
  4. Rotate the tray and dry them again for 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove the leaves from the oven and let them cool. 
  6. Store them in an airtight container or glass herb jar.

Should I leave dried sage leaves whole or crumble them?

It’s best not to crumble up the sage leaves to retain their flavor profile. I recommend keeping the leaves whole and storing them straight in the glass jar after the drying process. 

Just crumble the dried sage the time you use them for your recipe.

Do you wash sage before drying it?

You might lose the natural oil of the herb when you rinse it with water. So I don’t recommend washing the leaves before drying them. However, if there’s dust or mulch on the leaves, then consider washing them. 

So you will notice in the steps above, I add washing them as the first step but with a note that states, only if they are not clean.

How long will sage last?

When properly stored in the fridge, fresh sage leaves should last long for up to 14 days while the dried ones maintain their best quality for about four to six months in the freezer.

How to store dried sage

Storing dried sage is easy and here’s how to do it. First, put the dried sage in an airtight container or glass herb jar. Then store them in a dark place like the cupboard to avoid exposure to heat.

How to use dried sage

There are various ways to make use of your newly dried sage leaves. The herb is an ideal flavor enhancer for meat dishes, dressings, stuffings, and even to your potatoes and tomato sauces. But remember, sage can overpower a recipe so use a very small amount of the herb.

How to tell if fresh sage is still good

You can tell if your sage is still good by looking at its appearance. Generally, fresh ones tend to have a slightly fuzzy or fluffy appearance and cottony texture. If you happen to have soft and discolored leaves, discard them. 

Tips on drying and storing sage

Here are the tips and tricks you need to consider in drying and storing sage.

  1. Wash your sage if it’s necessary. Rinsing them with water may result in losing their natural oil. 
  2. Pick a method that fits your needs. Choose the microwave drying technique when you’re in a hurry or use the oven method if you’re comfortable with a conventional oven. 
  3. Make sure to store the herb in an airtight container or glass herb jar after the drying process. Put the jar in a cool and dark place, preferably away from heat.
  4. Remove all the excess water when you’re planning to wash the herb. 
  5. When using the hang-drying method, avoid hanging your sage above the stove or bathroom as this can damage the texture and flavor of the herb.

The bottom line

Dried sage is one of the popular culinary herbs that appear in many recipes and if you have them in your kitchen, it’ll surely become a game-changer in your daily meal!

Now that you have already learned the art of drying the herb, you don’t have to worry about overbuying them anymore. Just consider the tips I’ve shared and trust me, you’re going to be successful in your drying journey!

How to dry sage in a food dehydrator

How to dry sage in a food dehydrator

Learn how to dry your sage in a food dehydrator so you can enjoy the herb anytime you need it!

Ingredients

  • Fresh sage leaves
  • Food dehydrator
  • Airtight container or glass herb jar

Instructions

  1. Wash the fresh sage leaves and make sure the excess water is removed. Skip this step if they're clean. 
  2. Arrange the leaves on the rack or drying screen. Make sure to create a space between them for air to circulate.
  3. Place the screen in the dehydrator and set it to between 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait until completely dried. 
  4. Remove the tray and let them cool. 
  5. Store the dried sage leaves in an airtight container or glass herb jar.

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