Let’s talk about how to dry mint leaves for tea.
I never used to be a peppermint tea kind of lady but in what feels like a lifetime ago (pre kids) my partner and I went on holiday to Morocco. In the middle of Marrakesh’s bustling main square, Jemaa el-Fna, we found a quiet cafe – a refuge from the searing 45°C African heat and the unrelenting snake charmers.
All the guidebooks warned us against drinking tap water, anything with ice in it, or the freshly squeezed orange juice served ubiquitously all over the square, for fear of stomach upset, so our options were dwindling. Boiled water seemed like a safe bet, and besides, the heat had been so intense that we had reached the point where it was so hot we figured we may as well try the hot drink on a hot day trick, because we felt we simply couldn’t get any hotter.
We ordered up some peppermint tea, and what arrived were some pretty little glasses stuffed with fresh mint leaves and some freshly boiled water on the side. And do you know what? That tea, on a roaring hot day in what felt like the busiest place in the world really hit the spot. We ending up in that cafe many times during our time in Marrakesh, drinking their fresh peppermint tea.
Since then we’ve grown peppermint in our garden for the purpose of having some fresh peppermint to hand to make tea with. Which is all well and good in the summer, but in Scotland in winter doesn’t really work. Here I’ve resorted to tea bags, but after the whole plastic in tea bags thing I’ve been thinking about how to de-plastic my tea.
Right now our mint plant is growing so vigorously that we have an over abundance of fresh peppermint – more than I can possibly drink – so I have been drying mint leaves in the oven to store for the winter.
Some people hang their herbs up to dry but with a lack of space and a lack of a warm dry space, I prefer to dry mine in the oven. If you’re in a similar predicament here’s how to dry mint leaves for tea in the oven.
How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea
How To Dry Mint Leaves for Tea
- Fresh mint leaves
- Clean dry jar
- Preheat your oven to 80°C
- Pick the peppermint stalks (I cut just below the last leaf) and place in a colander.
- Give the colander a good shake to remove any beasties, and then give the stalks a wash under cold running water.
- Gently dry the leaves using a tea towel and remove any discoloured leaves.
- Spread the stalks out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for around 1.5 hours - keeping an eye on them to ensure the leaves don't burn.
- You can tell the leaves are fully dried out when the leaves become very crisp and brittle. When they are sufficiently dry remove from the oven and gently remove the leaves from the stalks, placing the leaves in a clean dry airtight jar. I then compost the stalks.
Your mint will store for at least 12 months if kept in a cool dark cupboard.
Rather than cutting up the whole of my peppermint plant, I’ve been cutting an oven dish worth of leaves every week or two, to allow for new growth so as to keep me in fresh leaves for tea over the summer, and to build up a nice stock of dried mint for winter time.
To serve I add one to two teaspoons of dried leaves to either a strainer, infuser, teapot, or reusable teabag (whatever you’ve got, basically), then add boiling water, and allow it to infuse for a few minutes before drinking.