How to make dried oregano

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This winter I went through my spice rack (which was given as a wedding gift 11 years ago) and threw out any spices I have yet to open and took inventory of spices I have at least used half of the container.  These herbs were added to my growing list which one of which was oregano.

Here is the basic steps to harvest, dry, and store your own oregano:

  1. 1. Pick and clean (optional) the leaves
  2. Start by trimming as much as you may need for the next month.  If the leaves are dirty give them a quick rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel.  If the leaves are clean you can skip this step.
  3. 2. Strip the leaves from the stem
  4. You can try to save some time and plan on doing this after you dry but the stems will be come very brittle and will lead to a lot of tiny stem picking later.  The easiest way to do this is to run your finger down the plant from the end of the stem toward the beginning that should get the leaves off pretty easily and quickly.
  5. 3. Dry the leaves
  6. If you have a food dehydrator place the leaves in a single layer and set to 90-100 degree F for about 24 hours.  Alternately you can also dry the leaves by placing them in a screen in a dry warm place.  You will know they are down when the leaves are crispy and can be pulverized easily with your fingers.
  7. 4. Storing the leaves
  8. Now you have two choices:
  9. 1. Keep the leaves whole and chop them as you need them for added flavor
  10. 2. Chop them up using a spice/coffee grinder and use them immediately as needed

As you can see the freshly dried oregano (left) looks much better than the stuff hanging around in my spice rack.  Can’t tell from the picture but also smells much better too.

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8 Responses to “How to make dried oregano”

  1. Ragnar Says:

    I would have bet on the left side to show the fresh oregano, but if you say so 😀

    Anyway, herbs are the spice in seasonings, as my grandmother said. We grow some for just the pleasure of squeezing them between your fingers and have a sniff, and other that get used up in the kitchen quite regularly. A little spare sunny corner should be available in every garden or balcony.


  2. Teresia Says:

    I have been drying my own herbs for years… but I dont use either method that you stated.
    I simply take the leaves off, all except for the thyme, they are to small to remove every leaf, and put them on a cookie sheet topped with parchment paper, and put them in my oven at the lowest setting, (200 is the lowest on my oven) for about an hour, depending on how much I have.
    I either crunch them by hand, or if I want a more powdery herb, for more robust flavor, I will put them through the coffee grinder for a spin, right before I use them.
    Some of them stems dont get tossed out,(especially with thyme) but, if you use the coffee grinder method, you wont have a problem.
    I store the dried herbs in a mason canning jar.
    They never go bad, as I use them quite quickly, and I also always have some dried and stored in the freezer.
    Another bonus to using the oven drying method… it makes the whole house smell yummy!


  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Ragnar, whoops really need to learn my left from right 🙂 I always enjoy doing a little rub and sniff when I see the herbs at the garden center, at least half the time I come home with something new 🙂

    Teresia, that is a good point stems probably can be ignored and looking at my old spices appears to have some stems in it as well. I like the oven technique, I have also heard of the microwave technique which I do need to try one of these days (do a little side by side comparison)


  4. Teresia Says:

    I have tried the microwave method.. the herbs didnt dry very well.. kind of steam soggy? Thats the only way I can describe them… maybe I didnt do it right though.


  5. cheft Says:

    I harvest all my own cooking herbs from my own garden. IMHO the best way to dry oregano is, after removing the leaves from the stem, drop into boiling salted water. Immediately strain and cool in an ice bath. Place in your food dehydrator and dry on the lowest heat setting. The more heat you use the more of the oils you damage. Be sure this is done before the plant is flowering and oils are at their peak. Lastly, store in airtight mason jars and crush what you want to use ala minute.


  6. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    The techinque you mention sounds like blanching which is common for vegetables but never heard of this for herbs. Do you know what the process does for the herbs?


  7. How to make dried basil Says:

    […] oregano this part if very easy use scissors (or just pinch off with your finger […]


  8. harsh Says:

    awesome work !!!!!!!
    searching for such type of tutorial only…….thanks……….thank you very much !!!!:)


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