If you love mint tea and have access to mint plants or any fresh mint, then you’ll want to learn how to dry mint leaves for tea right at home. Drying mint leaves is easy and only requires a few materials. There are several drying methods for mint, so choose the method that works best for you. Once your mint leaves are dried, they’ll be ready to use in any recipe or peppermint tea blend – enjoy!
The benefits of home dried tea
If you’re considering drying mint leaves at home for tea, then consider all of the benefits you’ll be enjoying! Mint is an aromatic herb known for its ability to help ease upset stomach and even help concentration, and while anyone can have a cup of fresh mint tea from undried leaves, learning to dry mint at home for tea allows you to enjoy this treat for months to come.
Recent research has also shown that many store bought tea bags may actually be exposing tea drinkers to micro plastics, and using homemade teas, including mint, brewed in a tea ball or similar device can help you to avoid those micro-plastics, as well as any pesticides that may have been used on the commercially grown mint.
Home dried tea also gives you a chance to make your own flavor combinations such as combining mint with lemon balm, orange peels (for orange mint tea), dried apple (for apple mint tea), or any favorite herb. You can also vary your tea by growing different types of mint such as spearmint or chocolate mint.
Gather mint leaves from your garden (or buy them at the store)
For the freshest tea, the best way to begin is with good quality mint. If you’re looking for a fresh and easy way to get some mint leaves, it doesn’t get any fresher than in your very own garden. (See my full post on how to grow mint at home.)
If you have a patch of mint somewhere in your backyard (hopefully in a pot because mint is notorious for spreading), just go out first thing in the morning before the heat of the day arrives and harvest enough fresh leaves to fill up a good sized colaner.
If you don’t have any growing outside, no worries – just swing by your local grocery store to pick up a bunch of fresh mint leaves instead, or reach out to an herb growing friend. Many home gardeners grow mint because of its uses in cooking, as well as keeping away pests in the garden.
Wash Mint Leaves Well
The first step should always be washing the mint leaves after they have been removed from the stems. You’ll want to do this by running the leaves under cold water, then setting them on a kitchen towel in a dry place.
Washing is important since you don’t want to leave any chance that there are chemical contaminants on your tea leaves, especially if you purchased your mint from a store.
How to dry mint leaves
To achieve the best results when spreading out your mint leaves, paper towels or a clean cloth towel is ideal. Spread out the leaves in a single layer so they can be easily dried before being used or stored.
If you want to speed up the process, use a salad spinner to get rid of excess water and then lay out the leaves on paper towels or a clean cloth towel. The key is to make sure each leaf has enough space around it so air can reach both sides of the leaf, so they are free from water before you begin drying them out.
Air drying mint leaves
One of the most low tech methods of drying mint leaves for tea is to use a simple drying rack method. Once your leaves are washed and dried, spread them in a single file on mesh drying rack or a collapsible drying rack to begin the drying process (this is the drying rack that I have.)
Place it out of direct sunlight, preferably in a darker place, and let the leaves dry out for about a week. If the room they are in is cooler, this may take longer.
A second air drying option is to trim off stems of mint, leaving the leaves intact. Place the mint top-side down in a paper bag and gather the top of the bag and the cut end of the stems together with string. Hang the paper bag and allow the mint to dry, much like it would on a drying rack. This is definitely the low-cost drying method.
While bright sun and hot temps may seem to be the fastest way to dry leaves, it can also destroy the oils in the leaf itself, and you want to retain those for your tea.
Using a food dehydrator or oven to dry mint leaves
If a week seems like a long time to wait for mint tea, then consider using a dehydrator or oven is also a great option. Dehydrating with a dehydrator is by far the most efficient method and yields the best results – preserving color, flavor, and aroma since ovens can vary in their lowest temperature.
The dehydrator runs at low temperatures so there’s no risk of overcooking your mint leaves, while still quickly eliminating moisture so they can easily be stored away until ready to use. Oven drying can work as an alternative option but requires much more attention to ensure that you don’t over-dry or burn your herbs.
To use an oven, simply place your mint leaves on an oven rack and set to the lowest possible temperature. After the oven has reached this temperature, turn off the oven and let dry overnight.
If using a dehydrator, spread the leaves in a single layer on the dehydrator tray, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results since not all dehydrators are created equal.
Take your time drying out mint leaves for your herbal tea. This will allow time for the mint to thoroughly dry out, giving you crunchy and flavorful dried leaves that can be used any way you’d like!
How to store mint tea
To store your homemade mint tea, you’ll want to make sure it stays airtight and dry. This means using airtight containers to store the dried leaves so that air and moisture cannot get in.
If you’ve prepared your mint leaves into a blend, you’ll want to make sure that it’s kept airtight too in order to prevent the blend from crumbling over time. Whether it’s a bag, a glass jar, or any other airtight container, be sure to keep the tea away from excess moisture or humidity levels so that your homemade mint tea remains fragrant for as long as possible.
Have you tried making your own mint tea? Are there any tea combinations I should try? Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried making homemade mint tea – I’d love to hear what you think!