How to dehydrate Oregano

Dehydrating or drying herbs is an excellent way to preserve supplies when abundantly in season. Oregano is especially easy to dehydrate (or dry) and many would agree that it is at its most flavoursome when dried.

I was lucky to be given a huge bunch of fresh oregano at a recent community food swap. I was pretty pleased with this as I don’t have any growing in the garden. As the bunch was big I wanted to be sure none went to waste, so I immediately set about to make the most of it.

How to dehydrate Oregano

There are three main ways to dry oregano: air dry, oven dry and dehydrate. Leaving the oregano to dry naturally (air dry) is an equipment and cost-free method. This can become a little messy as the oregano begins to dry and fall from the stalks. It also exposes the oregano to dust and moisture in the air. However, it is a reasonable alternative to dehydrating or oven drying.

Drying oregano in the oven is also an option. Wash the oregano and place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Set the oven to 80 degrees Celcius and place the oregano in the oven. Leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow air to circulate. The oregano should be dry in 4 – 6 hours and will need to be checked regularly when using this method.

Dehydrating Oregano (dehydrator method)

My most preferred method to dehydrate oregano is by using a dehydrator because:

  • the method is ‘set and forget’, you won’t need to keep checking during the drying process
  • it’s mess free
  • a dehydrator will prevent the oregano from going mouldy. In humid, damp or cold weather the oregano may simply rot rather than drying
  • the oregano is keep free from dust and other chemicals (such as aerosols)

Follow these simple steps to dehydrate oregano in a dehydrator:

  1. wash leaves and stalks and shake gently to remove excess water
  2. evenly distribute the oregano on dehydrator trays, ideally with a silicon mat underneath as the leaves can be quite small and fall through the trays
  3. set the dehyrator temperature to 35 degrees Celsius and timer to 7 hours. Depending on the amount of moisture left on the oregano after washing, additional time might be required to ensure the oregano is completely dry.
  4. Store in an airtight container and use within six months for optimum flavour. The oregano will still be suitable for use after six months but the flavour will not be as strong.

These photos were taken on a lovely Summer evening, around 8 pm. I like the soft evening light we get in the garden at this time. The outdoor table is the perfect size and height for spreading out food when taking photos. Tonight, Miss Kiki White was a little curious and joined the photo session. We rescued Kiki from the pound when she was mere weeks old. She sustained a major leg injury when she was about four years old and had extensive reconstruction to create an almost bionic leg. She walks with a funny hobble and a very distinctive footfall. She’s 10 years old now and living her best life as a photographer’s assistant.

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