Whether you’re harvesting oregano in your home garden or pick up a few stalks from the grocery store, you’ll need to dry it out before you can use it as an seasoning to garnish your lip-smacking dishes.
Dried oregano should be a necessity if you are into the Italian or Mediterranean cuisines because of its camphoraceous flavor.
Besides, this herb finds its significant role in Greek salads due to its minty tang. Recipes of such cuisines are usually tomato-centric or olive-oil based.
Related: Drying Basil At Home
Oregano is used in the form of a dried herb mostly. Therefore, a perfect ratio of carrier ingredients such as olive oil and tomatoes along with the herbs together can do wonders for your weekend platters.
Even though the herb is perennial, it thrives the best in the summer season when the concentration of its essential oils reaches its summit.
Needless to say that they die back in winter, and here comes the requirement to grow, harvest, and dry oregano for storage.
Also See: How to Dry Parsley at Home
In the following segment of this article, we shall guide you through the different techniques of drying oregano.
How To to Dry Fresh Oregano at Home : 4 Easy and Common Method
There are several methods used to harvest oregano and dry it for preservation. Before jumping straight into the drying part, please make sure that the herbs are fresh, young, and harvested well. The prime steps of growing oregano are more critical and essential than that of drying.
1. Conventional Air-Drying Method (Hang Them)
If you want to dry oregano with minimal effort, you should opt for this technique. Although air-drying tender herbs like oregano can have varying impact on the result, people across the world choose this option because of its simplicity and minimal prerequisite.
Let us briefly learn how air-drying can impact the texture and flavor of the herb and how you can overcome such a problem. As a result of drying oregano sprigs under the sun, the leaves may get discolored or lose its authentic flavor, i.e., two of its most characteristic features.
Also, being moderately soft, they are susceptible to fungal infections if dried them bare. Therefore, instead of drying it straight under the sun, you should follow a modified process as mentioned below.
- Collect young and fresh oregano sprigs, preferably after the sun is up and clean the same.
- Sort the best ones into a bundle, tie them together with twine or rope.
- Keep the bundle securely inside a paper bag with holes in it, ensuring ventilation.
- Next, choose a place for drying in ambient condition and hang the paper bag upside down.
- Make sure the air is dry and less humid throughout, and the set up is left undisturbed for roughly fourteen days.
2. Drying Oregano in Oven
Oven-drying is a better substitute for the traditional-time-consuming air-drying method. If you want an effective result quickly, you should follow this alternative way.
Unlike the previous process, the starting material should be a leaf and not sprig. This is because using sprigs may interfere with the evenness of the drying process resulting in burnt and undried leaves.
Also, it would help if you chose leaves of the same size. These are the initial two steps that hold much importance to the overall operation.
- Start with collecting the best sprigs you find in your garden or market.
- Pick and arrange the leaves based on their average size and choose a bunch of more or less uniform-sized leaves, followed by washing under running tap water.
- Place a parchment paper or baking sheet. This trick will help the leaves retain their color and flavor, avoiding direct contact with the metal.
- Next, gently keep the oregano leaves inside the pre-heated oven. Stack up layers of parchment paper covered with equidistantly placed leaves up to 4-5 layers.
- The temperature of the oven should be about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in some cases, ovens having a temperature of approximately 170 degrees Fahrenheit show better results.
- Leave this set up for 10-15 minutes and keep an eye on the texture. Flip the leaves after you observe changes.
- After the process is over, wait for it to completely cool down before taking it out.
3. Drying Oregano Using Microwave
Still, wondering if there is any quicker way to dry oregano? Well, you just found the answer to your question.
Microwave-drying is probably one of the easiest and fastest ways of drying herbs and is used globally by people who cannot afford much time in the kitchen.
- Firstly, follow the same initial steps of collecting and choosing the leaves, as discussed in the case of the oven-drying method.
- Place a two-layered kitchen towel inside the microwave to start the microwaving process.
- Arrange the sorted leaves in an equidistant manner and place another kitchen towel above this layer for efficient drying.
- Lastly, put the microwave on high mode and wait for 1 minute.
- Carefully observe the texture as they turn brownish.
- You may continue microwaving for a few more seconds if you feel the need. Keep checking between each round so that they do not get burnt.
4. Drying Oregano in Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is another substitute for the oven-drying method. Recently, it is increasingly gaining fame because of its high efficiency in drying herbs, which have a considerable amount of moisture in them. Some people also use an air-fryer for the same result.
- To begin with, collect fresh and unmatured leaves and keep the sorted ones aside.
- Place the leaves keeping enough distance between the corresponding ones for air circulation.
- Put the temperature around 95 degrees Fahrenheit or whatever lowest temperature is available for your dehydrator.
- This process should continue for 3-4 hours. You will need to check the condition of the leaves every 1 hour so that you can assess the end-point of the operation.
How to Store Oregano
You can store oregano in various forms depending on your preference. Storing whole leaves is considered to be a better option in order to lock its rustic and earthy flavor than the ground form.
If you wish to store it as a powdered-ready-to-use-seasoning, use a mortar and pestle to crush dried oregano together.
You may additionally add dried parsley, basil, thyme in the same mortar, and grind all of them together to prepare a master mix.
Besides, you may also store it by merely crumbling the leaves. Remember to preserve it in an airtight container for the flavor to last long in a cool and dark place.
Light and air will degrade the flavor of the herb. Dry oregano will last for up to six months with best flavor and quality.
People often have one common question; “How much ground oregano is equal to dried oregano?”
So, 3 teaspoons of fresh oregano equals to one teaspoon of dried oregano.
Oregano is the central ingredient of every seasoning you can imagine of. You cannot just have your Italian pasta or Greek salad without it.
It’s spicy yet subtle flavor is a must for some iconic dish. Basically, its necessity cannot be emphasized enough.
Therefore, go and collect some leaves from your backyard garden and dry them to cook a delicious homemade meal this Friday.
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