How To Dry Oregano In The Oven

How To Dry Oregano In The Oven

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Growing, harvesting, and drying fresh herbs is easier than most people think. After getting into drying fresh herbs a few years ago, I’ll likely never buy dried herbs again. I mean, just look at the difference in color between the dried oregano from my garden on the left, and the store-bought organic version on the right. That’s a big difference! And they appear to stay that way too, after a few years in storage. So today, I want to teach you how to dry oregano in the oven.

Dried oregano is an herb that I use a lot. I like to sprinkle it on vegetables, put it in breads, put in marinara sauces. It’s definitely an herb that I can’t be without.

In this post, I will show you how to dry oregano in the oven. While there are other methods of drying, I find this one to be the quickest and one that makes use of equipment that you already have in your house (i.e., you don’t have to go out and purchase a dehydrator). This method can be used either on fresh oregano that you grew in your garden or from fresh oregano that you might have purchased from the store and you have some leftover that you don’t want to go to waste.

How to Harvest Oregano?

I generally wait for my plant to be between 6-8″ tall before I harvest. Harvesting should be done late morning if possible. To harvest, you want to cut just above a node point using either sharp scissors or gardening shears (this is what I use). I generally cut it back to 2-3″ above the soil. This type of trimming can also be considered pruning, because you are trimming the plant in a way that will encourage new growth and branching, and also harvesting the plant for use. The best time to harvest though, is the point right before it begins to flower. That is when the oregano will have maximum flavor. But until that time arrives, it’s important to regularly prune/harvest the oregano to keep it producing. Click here to learn more information on caring for oregano from the Farmer’s Almanac.

What is the best way to dry oregano?

There are three main ways to dry oregano: hanging it to dry in a cool and dry spot, dehydrating it, and drying it in the oven. I have tried to hang herbs before, and some of them have ended up moldy. This is definitely something we don’t want. In the case of the dehydrator, this requires a separate piece of equipment that most people don’t have or don’t want to (or don’t have the financial means) to purchase. An oven is something that most people have or have access to, and it takes less than 30 minutes to do.

How long does it take to dry fresh oregano?

It depends on whether you are hanging the herbs up, dehydrating them, or drying them in the oven. If you are using an oven, you can dry a single batch of fresh oregano in less than 30 minutes.

Can you dry herbs in the oven?

Yes! And it takes less than 30 minutes.

Should you wash oregano before drying?

Yes! You want to get any bugs, dirt, and debris off before drying. After washing the fresh oregano, you are also going to need to dry it thoroughly before placing in the oven.

How to Dry Oregano In the Oven: Step-By-Step

Step 1. Make sure your oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. After harvesting fresh oregano from your garden (or gathering any store-bought fresh oregano), give it a good rinse in a strainer. I like to use my free hand to kind of swish it around under the running water.

Washed Italian oregano in a stainless steel colander.

Step 2. Thoroughly dry the fresh oregano, and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The parchment paper prevents the herbs from burning. Try to space out the herbs as best you can, to allow for good airflow. If they are too crowded, the leaves might not dry all of the way. Because oregano stems are woody, it makes it easy to strip the leaves off from the stems after it’s dried.

Italian oregano on a parchment-lined baking sheet before going into the oven.

Step 3. Turn your oven down to the lowest setting (mine was at 170F). Place baking sheet with the oregano in the oven. Dry it for 20 minutes (or shorter, if your lowest temperature setting is higher than mine).

Dried Italian oregano on a parchment-lined baking sheet after coming out of the oven.

Step 4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Check the leaves to make sure they are dry because any residual moisture is a breeding ground for mold. By dry, I mean that they shouldn’t feel wet and they should crumble easily. If there are some that are still wet, set the dry stems aside and put the wet ones back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Continue this cycle until all of the leaves are dry. Once they are all dry and cooled, gently remove the leaves from the stems. Because the stems are woody, you want to have as little stem pieces as possible.

A pile of dried Italian oregano on a parchment-lined baking sheet after the leaves have been stripped from the stems.

Step 5. Gently crush the leaves with your fingers. After crushing them, I like to put the sheet back in the oven for another 5 minutes at 170F to make sure there is no moisture left.

A finely crushed pile of dried Italian oregano on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Step 6. Fold the parchment paper into a funnel and pour the dried oregano into an air-tight storage container (I like to use glass jars). The dried oregano will retain its flavor for up to one year.

Pouring the finely crushed dried Italian oregano into a glass jar using the parchment paper as a funnel.
On the left side is the dried Italian oregano in a glass jar, and on the right is a pile of store-bought oregano to show how vibrant dried fresh oregano is. In the background are oregano stems, the lid to the glass jar, and a tea towel. Everything sits on a serving board.
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How to Dry Oregano in the Oven

A quick and easy way to dry oregano.

Keyword food preservation, herb drying
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • sprigs of fresh oregano from your garden or from the store, washed and dried

Instructions

  1. Make sure your oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Arrange washed and dried oregano sprigs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Space the sprigs out as best you can, otherwise they won't dry all the way and they'll have to stay in the oven longer.

  3. Turn your oven down to the lowest setting (mine was at 170F). Place baking sheet with the oregano in the oven. Dry it for 20 minutes (or shorter, if your lowest temperature setting is higher than mine).

  4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Check the leaves to make sure they are dry (i.e., they shouldn't feel wet and they should crumble easily). If some leaves are still wet, set the dry stems aside and put the wet ones back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Continue this cycle until all of the leaves are dry. Once they are all dry and cooled, gently remove the leaves from the stems. Because the stems are woody, you want to have as little stem pieces as possible.

  5. Gently crush the leaves with your fingers. After crushing them, I like to put the sheet back in the oven for another 5 minutes at 170F to make sure there is no moisture left.

  6. Fold the parchment paper into a funnel and pour the dried oregano into an air-tight storage container (I like to use glass jars). The dried oregano will retain its flavor for up to one year.

ARE YOU MAKING THIS RECIPE OR OTHERS? Share your creations with me by posting a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, share it on Twitter, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #thepanickedfoodie.



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