I just harvested the first cutting of my four varieties of mint growing in various gardens. I am growing
- Greek Mint
- Another Spearmint Variety (Large Leafed)
Some techniques commonly used to dry mint are:
- Bundle and hang from Stems in a dark, very dry place (if possible with paper bags around the bundles)
- Put in Paper bags
- Place in oven at very low temperature for a short while and then turn oven off (hang in oven if possible)
- Hang and Air Dry in ventilated place
- Dry in Microwave
- Place in front of dehumidifier
I like the first three techniques as they the process is easier on the plant. Drawing the water out of the plant through the paper bags is, to me the best way and maximizes the preservation of essential oils. I would recommend this technique for many other plants as well. Others suggest this technique is not good due to the paper absorbing the essential oils. I have not found this to be the case from my experiences.
The last three to me are not as good choices due to the harshness of drying which can lead to the loss of essential oils. Some people put the mint in the oven on low temperature until dry and while I haven’t tried that, it just seems a bit harsh). Plus if you need the mint quick, just use it fresh! I like to use it to make tea everyday while its in the process of drying as well as after.
The best time to pick the mint (or any other herb) is right before it flowers in the early to mid morning. This is when the most essential oils are present sending all of its plant goodness into the reproductive process and producing all that aroma, flavor and other magic!
I took the first cutting of mint recently – Mid-June here. (could have probably waited a bit longer but am going away and don’t want it to go to flower) Im sure it will pop right back up for a second cutting in a month or so. Ill change this article when I make the second cutting.
While there are many uses for mint, I mostly use it for tea. It is one of my favorite medicinal herbs and is amazing for aiding in digestion, calming the nerves, and giving a relaxing earthy feeling. Dr. Weil, best known for establishing and popularizing the field of integrative medicine explains the medicinal benefits of tea:
Peppermint is a wonderful digestive remedy, especially useful for the upper GI tract, for relief of heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and the like. You can buy pure peppermint leaf tea in most supermarkets. Brew it in a covered container to avoid loss of volatile components, and drink as much of it as you like, hot or iced. This herb is also soothing to the lower GI tract. Enteric-coated capsules of peppermint oil have been used for irritable bowel syndrome. Enteric coating resists attack by stomach acid, so the capsules pass into the intestines intact and release their contents there. As with garlic, our familiarity with peppermint makes us less likely to take it seriously as a medicine, but in fact it is one of the most powerful and effective remedies for gastrointestinal complaints. It is also nontoxic.
Other plants I am growing in the mint family:
- Lemon Balm
- Lavender Bergamot
Leave a comment sharing your experiences with drying mint and the different ways you use it.
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