To dry your freshly harvested herbs from your garden, don’t turn on the oven or invest in an expensive food dehydrator – use your microwave! Drying takes just a couple of minutes, if you’re careful. I found this method when I was at my parent’s farm house where there’s no air conditioning. Turning on the oven at their house is taboo in the heat of the summer, so I turned to the microwave.
This quick method of drying herbs in the microwave is fast, so you really have to stay focused and watch what you’re doing. Don’t be distracted by the kids or the phone. You’ll burn a batch of herbs really fast and you will have to start over.
The “heat” of the microwave drives the water out of the herbs and into the plate and the inside walls of the oven, where it condenses. By repeatedly wiping down the walls and changing the towels on the plate, you can effectively drive all the moisture out of the herbs in quick time and put them up for storage.
Line a diner plate with 3 paper towels. Loosely cover the towel with the herbs. In the picture, I’ve got some basil I picked my last day at the farm. Make sure you get rid of most of the stems, they’ll just throw off the process.
Put in the microwave on High for one minute. Make sure the turntable is working and the herbs are moving. You might have to fold the corners of the towel under, to prevent them from hanging up on the inside walls of the oven. Take the herbs out and transfer to another cool plate covered with paper towels.
Spread the damp towels out to dry while you’ve got the next batch in the oven. Keep repeating this process until the leaves are crumbly and before they burn! Watch what you’re doing!!!
Once the leaves are dry enough, you can store them in a jar, or run them through a grinder to put into a little spice jar. Some people don’t like to grind their herbs until right before they use them. A lot of flavor is lost when the leaves are ground or even crumbled. If you’re not intent on stuffing your fresh-dried herbs into little jars, maybe consider putting the whole leaves in a ziptop bag.