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Drying Fresh Herbs in a Flash

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2011

The traditional method of hanging fresh herbs to dry can take days, if not weeks. Since the microwave targets and heats water molecules, we wondered if we could use it to drive off moisture from herbs more quickly.

The traditional method of hanging fresh herbs to dry can take days, if not weeks. Since the microwave targets and heats water molecules, we wondered if we could use it to drive off moisture from herbs more quickly.

We experimented with a variety of hearty herbs, including sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, and marjoram, placing them in a single layer between two paper towels on the microwave turntable and microwaving on high power. We found that it took just one to three minutes for the leaves to turn brittle and fall easily from the stems—a sure sign of dryness. (We didn’t try the technique on delicate herbs such as parsley and cilantro, which are best eaten fresh.) 

With a method this quick, we’ll never go back to hanging fresh herbs out to dry.

ZAPPED DRY

Drying fresh herbs takes just minutes in the microwave.