If you have a large crop of rosemary to harvest, or a bush that needs pruning, you will want to know how to dry rosemary to preserve it for future use. This article covers all you need to know about drying rosemary, from the best techniques to common mistakes.
Fresh rosemary is very easy to dry, and will retain its flavor well if it is dried correctly. It might not be quite as good as fresh rosemary for some uses, but can be used successfully in place of fresh rosemary most of the time.
If you have a lots of rosemary cuttings, then you should also check out our post on ‘What to do with rosemary cuttings‘ for more ideas.
How to dry rosemary
There are 3 basic methods for drying rosemary. You can use a dehydrator, you can dry the rosemary between sheets of parchment, or you can hang bunches of rosemary to dry. This article covers the latter two methods (if you want to use your dehydrator then check your manual for details).
>>Related article: How to harvest rosemary
Method 1. Drying rosemary on paper
This method is best if you have a small amount of rosemary and want to dry it quickly.
Parchment paper is ideal for drying herbs the type of paper you use is important. Coated baking papers or waxed papers will not work.
All you need to do is lay the rosemary in a single layer between two sheets of parchment on a cookie sheet or baking tray, and leave it in a dry place out of direct sunlight until it has dried out.
It is important that the air can circulate while the rosemary is drying, so don’t cover it with anything other than the parchment paper.
When you have spread the rosemary on the drying paper, it needs to be placed in a dry location until the water is gone from the leaves.
Method 2. Drying Rosemary by hanging bunches
This is the best method if you have a lot of rosemary to dry, or do not have the space to spread it out on baking trays.
When you harvest the rosemary, cut long sprigs. Then tie the sprigs into small bundles with twine. Then hang the rosemary bundles upside down in a warm place, out of direct sunlight, where they won’t be disturbed.
It is a good idea to cover the bunches of rosemary with paper bags to keep the dust off while they are drying.
You will probably find that it takes a little longer to dry the rosemary using this method, but if you have more than one tray’s worth of rosemary to dry, then using the method above isn’t really practical for most of us.
How long does it take to dry rosemary?
It is likely to take at least a week to dry the rosemary to dry fresh rosemary, though the exact time it takes will depend on the technique used and the climate where you live.
Drying on paper is likely to take less time than drying in bunches, and both will depend on how warm the location selected for drying is.
You need the rosemary to be completely bone dry before you try to store it, as it will not last if there is any moisture remaining in the leaves.
How to store dried rosemary
Once your rosemary is completely dry, carefully remove the dried leaves from the sprigs by gently scraping them off with a knife.
Store the dried rosemary in an airtight container and keep it in a cool dark place. Properly dried rosemary should last 6-12 months.
For more info see: How to store dried herbs.
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- Large tray or baking sheet and baking parchment or paper towels OR
- Garden twine or string and a paper bag
Harvest the Rosemary and Prepare
- Harvest the rosemary - cut the rosemary when the leaves are mature (darker green) [Note 1].
- Wash the rosemary thoroughly. Gently shake off excess water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Method 1: Dry Rosemary on Paper
- Prepare the drying surface - line a large tray, baking sheet or other flat surface with parchment paper or paper towels.
- Spread rosemary sprigs out in a single layer on the prepared drying surface.
- Place another layer of parchment or paper towels over the top of the rosemary sprigs.
- Place the tray in a dry area where it will not be disturbed, and leave rosemary to dry.
Technique 2: Dry Bunches of Rosemary
- Tie rosemary sprigs into small bunches - take a small handful of rosemary sprigs and loop the twine tightly around the bunch a few times and secure with a knot.
- Hang the bunches of rosemary in a warm dry are where they will not be disturbed, and leave to dry completely.
Collect and store dried rosemary
- It will take a few days for the rosemary to dry - after around 5 days start to check daily to see when the leaves have lost all their moisture. When they are ready they will feel crunchy rather than bend.
- When the rosemary leaves have completely dried out, separate them from the stalks by shaking and use a knife to gently scrape the stems. The leaves should fall off easily.
- Store dried rosemary leaves in an air tight jar or pot.
If you want to dry the rosemary by hanging bunches, cut long sprigs around 6-8 inches long.
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