How to dry mint at home to make peppermint tea with. An easy recipe for making your own homemade peppermint tea using fresh peppermint leaves that have been dried to brew a fresh cup of mint tea. Drying the mint leaves helps increase the shelf-life of the tea leaves, meaning you can enjoy this dried mint tea for months and reap the health benefits year round!
I’ve been growing peppermint in the garden specifically for the purpose of making peppermint loose leaf tea with.
It’s one of my favourite teas to enjoy, but buying organic tea leaves from the bulk foods store can be quite expensive, and I go through the tea leaves relatively quickly, enjoying peppermint tea on a regular basis. In summer, I like to infuse my peppermint tea with fresh pomegranate juice, making a delicious, refreshing iced tea recipe.
After learning how to dry mint leaves (and stems) at home, I found it to be great way to preserve mint for longer. Plus, it’s usually fresher and better-tasting than the store-bought versions.
Best of all, there are tons of ways to use the dried mint leaves – in spice mixes, sauces and dressings, for mint tea, etc. See the ‘uses’ section below for more options.
The Many Benefits of Peppermint
There are several ways that peppermint can be used to relieve digestive issues like gas, bloating, and indigestion. While the majority are treated with mint (essential) oil rather than fresh or dried varieties, peppermint tea has been found to help calm the muscles of the stomach and improve the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food is able to pass more quickly through the stomach.
According to the book, Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Peterson, peppermint ‘contains aromatic compounds that increase the production of digestive fluids, relieve muscle spasms, increase blood circulation, reduce pains, promote sweating and are antiseptic. It also contains astringent compounds which shrink inflamed tissues. Peppermint has been used to treat indigestion, flatulence, mouth sores, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, morning sickness and dysmenorrhea.’
Inhaling peppermint essential oil can be an effective treatment against cold symptoms such as congestion. I personally add a few drops of peppermint oil to a pot of steaming water, drape my head with a towel and inhale the steam to help open up my sinuses. It’s great for colds and allergies.
When peppermint is taken at the same time as other herbs or supplements, it can increase their effectiveness in the body. The tea is especially helpful for pregnancy and tooth remineralisation, as it contains nutrients like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
For more on the benefits of peppermint, see here.
Uses for Mint
Some of my favourite ways to use dried peppermint leaves, or any type of mint for that matter, include:
- In mint tea. Simply add one teaspoon of dried mint leaves to a reusable tea bag and place it in a mug of hot water to steep for 3-5 minutes.
- As part of spice mixes.
- In tzatziki and similar dishes.
- Added to cheese recipes.
- In marinades and dressings.
- In infused water recipes, using ingredients like lemon, cucumber and mint leaves.
- In a homemade remineralising tooth powder, as a flavour enhancer and antibacterial herb.
- In soups and stews.
There are many more uses for peppermint, so feel free look online for more ideas or trial and experiment with other creative uses for peppermint. See here for more ideas.
Before we get started in learning how to make this homemade peppermint tea – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!
How to Dry Mint
The best time to harvest the mint leaves is just before they flower – so late spring/early summer usually. This is when their oil levels are at their ‘peak’.
It’s best to harvest them in the early morning, before the sunlight and heat evaporates the oils.
Choose leaves that are fresh, bright, and green to use for drying.
There are three main ways to dry mint, which include using a dehydrator, oven, or air-drying.
It’s important to wash and carefully dry the mint leaves before dehydrating – to get rid of any insects and germs.
It’s important to ensure ALL the excess moisture has been removed before drying the mint, otherwise mould can set in. After washing, let the mint leaves air-dry for an extra 30-60 minutes, then pat them dry again before using the oven or dehydrator method.
Air-drying is my preferred method as I currently don’t own a dehydrator, and it provides a low-heat option for drying out the leaves, helping to preserve the nutrient profile and beneficial compounds in the mint.
It’s important to note that air-drying will really only work in warm climates that aren’t humid. A room that sits around 15-20°C (or 60-68°F) will work best. Cold, humid climates may lead to mould growing on the mint. If you live in this type of climate, my recommendation is to use a dehydrator.
To air-dry the peppermint after harvesting, gather the mint (stems still attached) into a bouquet and tie the stems together with a piece of twine, string, or a rubber band at the bottom.
Hang the bouquet of mint in a warm, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. You can create a hanging apparatus, tying the bouquet to a coat hanger or simply using a herb drying rack.
Allow the bouquet to dry for one to two weeks, or until the leaves feel dry and ‘crumbly’ when touched.
If you like, you can place a brown paper bag lightly over the mint to create a ‘protective covering’, which can help prevent dust settling on the leaves.
Once dried, transfer the leaves to an airtight jar for storage.
In a Dehydrator
Remove the mint leaves from the stems, and place the leaves in a single layer across the dehydrator trays, making sure to leave enough space in between for air circulation.
Dry the mint at 40°C (105°F) for approximately two to five hours, or until the leaves are brittle and crumble when touched. The time will vary depending on your machine, how much mint you’re drying, and the type of climate you live in. After two hours, check on the leaves to see how they’re going, then every 15-20 minutes after that until they’re ready.
Allow the dried mint leaves to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight jar.
In the Oven
Remove the leaves from the stems and lay them out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Ensure you leave enough space between the leaves for air to circulate.
Place the tray in the oven and set the temperature to its lowest possible setting, under 95°C (200°F). Leave the oven door slightly ajar to prevent the mint from going brown and “cooking”. To do this, use a heat-proof wooden spoon or potholder to release the steam and and prevent the mint from overheating. The drying time will vary depending on the oven used. After 1 hour, check on the leaves and flip them over to ensure they dry evenly on both sides. Keep your eyes on the mint, checking every 15 minutes or so until the leaves feel dry and ‘crumbly’ to the touch.
Allow the dried mint leaves to cool completely before storing them in an airtight jar.
Storing the Mint Leaves
Once dried, the mint leaves should still look green in colour and have a strong minty aroma, no matter which method you used. If not, and the mint looks dark in colour or brown, then it is likely burnt.
The leaves can be stored whole, crumbled (by hand or in a food processor or blender), or as a powder (which can be achieved using a coffee or spice grinder, or blended in a food processor or blender for longer). The peppermint can be stored in an airtight glass jar, and will keep for up to 12 months in a cool, dark, dry place.
If you notice any moisture in the container or on the leaves after a few days, repeat the drying process with the leaves for a little longer. This will prevent the entire batch from going mouldy.
Homemade Peppermint Tea
How to make fresh homemade peppermint tea from the peppermint leaves you collected and dried at home.
- 1-2 tsp crushed peppermint tea leaves
- 1 reusable tea bag, tea strainer or infuser
- 1-2 cups boiling water
- Teapot or saucepan
- To make the peppermint tea, add one to two teaspoons of the crushed dried mint leaves to either a strainer, infuser, teapot or reusable tea bag.
- Place the tea bag, strainer or infuser into the teapot or saucepan, and add one to two cups of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep and infuse for three to five minutes before pouring into a tea cup to serve. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger the tea will be.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you dried herbs from the garden before? How did it go? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,