You decided to visit a nearby grocery store to purchase dried oregano. In the store's spice section, you found out that the product was out of stock, but you eagerly needed it for your recipe tonight.
If that's the case, I recommend you to drop by the produce section so you can purchase fresh oregano for drying. You heard it right! Today, you'll learn how to dry oregano at home using four of the best methods.
Before I uncover the various techniques of drying the herbs, though, I'll first discuss this aromatic spice and how it's considered a hallmark of cooking across the globe.
Oregano is a kitchen staple as it can offer a pungent aroma and intense flavor to many dishes ranging from pizza to Italian Vinaigrette. It comes in varieties and pairs well with other ingredients such as garlic, thyme, and onion.
Moreover, the herb can be used fresh or dried that features a similar pungent flavor. However, dried oregano is a go-to ingredient among cooks as its flavors are easier to control than the fresh ones.
How to dry oregano?
Storing oregano in dried form is being practiced for many years as this is one of the simplest ways to preserve them. From traditional to modern, here are the four methods you can use to dry oregano at home.
If you're an oven aficionado, then this method is for you. It takes an hour to dry your favorite herb. All you need is fresh oregano sprigs, a baking sheet, an oven, and an airtight container for storing the final product.
Take note, follow the following process so you won't accidentally burn your oregano.
- 1Preheat your oven to 170 °F.
- 2While waiting for five to ten minutes to preheat the oven, wash the herbs. Make sure all the excess water is removed. If the leaves are clean, leave it as it is.
- 3Take your oregano and lay it out on the dry baking sheet. Make sure to choose sprigs that have the same sizes so they'll dry at the same time.
- 4Bake the oregano for an hour in the center rack of your oven.
- 5Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let oregano cool down for 10 to 20 minutes.
- 6Pull the leaves off the stems and store them in an airtight container.
Another technique of drying oregano is microwaving. This is the best method for those individuals who are in a hurry. Here's how to do it:
- 1Start with washing the herbs and ensure the excess water is removed. If it's clean, washing them isn't necessary.
- 2Place two layers of kitchen or paper towels on a microwave-safe plate.
- 3Put four to five herb branches on the paper towels.
- 4Microwave it on high power for two to three minutes.
- 5Remove them from the microwave and let them cool for a few minutes.
- 6Store it in an airtight container.
Tray drying is the best method if you're planning to dry smaller quantities of oregano. Here's how to do it:
- 1Wash the herbs if it's dusty. If it's clean, leave it as is.
- 2Remove the leaves from their stems.
- 3Place one layer of the leaves on a tray. This ensures good air circulation and quick drying.
- 4Place the tray in a warm and dry area. Make sure that your oregano doesn't expose to direct sunlight.
- 5Turn the leaves gently every few days so they'll dry at the same time.
- 6Once thoroughly dried, remove them from the trays and store them in an airtight container.
Best way to dry oregano
The best way to dry oregano is the bunch drying or hang drying method. It's the traditional way of drying herbs such as parsley, dill, and rosemary.
Though some cooks don't use this technique anymore because it takes days or weeks to dry the herbs, this method is still relevant, especially on dry and hot days in places with very low humidity.
Here's how to dry oregano using the bunch drying or hang drying method.
- 1Wash the oregano sprigs if it's unclean.
- 2Group the sprigs into bundles and tie them together with a rubber band around the end.
- 3Place the bundles inside a brown paper bag. This bag helps to avoid the exposure of the leaves from molds, dust, and sunlight.
- 4Tear holes all over the sides of the paper bag using a knife or pen. This allows the air to flow in and out.
- 5After that, hang the bag upside down inside a room that has air circulation. Just make sure not to hang them above the stove or bathroom, as this can damage the herb's texture and flavor.
Should you wash oregano before drying?
No, it's necessary to wash the oregano before drying. However, if the leaves are dusty or have been thickly mulched, you better rinse them briefly. Make sure to remove the excess water before proceeding with the drying process.
How to store dried oregano
Once you're done drying your oregano, one thing is for sure, you'll proceed to store them to maximize their shelf life. The excellent news is that storing dried oregano is as easy as ABC.
All you need is to put the oregano in an airtight container or glass herb jar, then store them in a cool and dark place, preferably away from heat. If stored properly, you'll enjoy your dried oregano for up to three years.
How long will dried oregano last?
The answer is it depends. If you store your oregano properly, then your dried oregano will last for up to three years. So make sure to put them in an airtight container or glass herb jar and store the herb in a cool, dark place, away from heat.
How to tell if fresh oregano is still good
It's relatively easy to tell if your fresh oregano is still good or safe to consume. Fresh ones tend to have a pungent taste that's best described as earthy and bitter. It also has hints of minty and hay-like flavors.
Meanwhile, oregano that's spoiling typically has a soft texture with off smell and appearance.
How to use dried oregano
Tips from the pro: Drying oregano
Drying oregano is easy if you follow the proper drying method. Below are the tips and tricks of drying oregano like a pro.
- 1Wash your oregano if it's necessary. There's a big chance that the oils of the herbs may be lost during rinsing.
- 2Choose your preferable drying methods. If you're in a hurry, I recommend using the microwave drying technique. Just be cautious not to scorch the herbs during the process.
- 3Store oregano inside an airtight container or glass herb jar in a cool and dark place, preferably away from heat.
- 4If you happen to wash the herbs, make sure to remove all the excess water before proceeding to the drying process.
- 5When using the bunch drying or hang drying method, make sure not to hang them above the stove or bathroom as this can damage the texture and flavor of the herb.
The bottom line
Dried oregano is a popular herb used in many dishes. Whether you use it in your taco dish or include it in your favorite vegetables, this special spice is one of the best flavor enhancers.
So the next time you're stuck on a recipe because you're running low or out of dried herbs, then take a quick visit to this guide and use only the niftiest drying methods above!
- Fresh oregano
- Paper towels
- Microwave-safe plate
- Start with washing the herbs and ensure the excess water is removed. If it's clean, washing them isn't necessary.
- Place two layers of kitchen or paper towels on a microwave-safe plate.
- Put four to five herb branches on the paper towels.
- Microwave it on high power for two to three minutes.
- Remove them from the microwave and let them cool for a few minutes.
- Store it in an airtight container.