It is super handy to have dried herbs on hand to level up your cooking. So lets learn how to dry or dehydrate Rosemary and add that to your shelf!
The rosemary plant is an evergreen shrub in temperate places. It is not a cold hardy herb and wont survive in colder climates.
If you live somewhere with cold winters then you can grow rosemary INDOORS. It has needle-like leaves with thick wooden stems When harvesting rosemary for cooking fresh, you can simply cut a sprig here or there for your meal.
When you want to dry or dehydrate rosemary, you will want to harvest more than a sprig to make your effort worth it. That being said, you won’t want to cut down the whole plant. This will make it harder for the rosemary plant to grow back and may kill it.
The rule of thumb is to trim no more than two thirds of the shrub allowing for for enough of the stems to be left and then regrow. If you live somewhere cold, you will want to harvest the whole plant before it gets too cold.
Another harvesting tip is to harvest your rosemary in the morning and before the plant begins to flower. This is when you will likely get the most flavor from the sprig.
Now that you know how to harvest your rosemary lets dive in on how to dry rosemary.
And yes, there are ways to dehydrate your rosemary without a dehydrator. Let’s dive in!
How to prepare rosemary to be dried or dehydrated
When you are drying or dehydrating a fresh herb, you will want to wash it first. Dust can settle on the herb during the growing process and you don’t want that to be in your spice jar after the dehydration process is over.
Luckily the washing process is simple and doesn’t take long. Take your rosemary sprigs and rinse them under cold water.
Then you will shake off the sprig in the sink or out outside to try and get off as much water as you can. Place your rosemary sprig on a paper towel or kitchen towel and pat it dry to get rid of any excess water.
Three ways to dry or dehydrate rosemary
I am going to share with you the different methods for you to dry or dehydrate rosemary. The different drying methods take different resources and time.
I will go over each one and you can choose the best way for you to dry or dehydrate rosemary based off of what supplies you have.
SOME people say that you can use a microwave to dehydrate rosemary, but I wouldn’t suggest doing that. The microwave seems to cook it more than dry it and will make the rosemary less flavorful.
How to HANG DRY rosemary
After your rosemary is washed and dried then your rosemary is ready to be dried! Trim your rosemary sprigs so that they can line up in a small bunch of 8-10 sprigs with enough stem left for tying.
Once your sprigs of rosemary are lined up you will then take a piece of twine to tie at the bottom. You can also use other things like a rubber band, string, or yarn if that is what you have.
Hang your small bundles of rosemary sprigs upside down to air dry in a well-ventilated area. When choosing where to hang your rosemary make sure that it is in a warm, dry, place, out of direct sunlight.
Hang drying your rosemary takes the longest time for the excess moisture to come out of your sprigs. It can take anywhere from ONE to THREE WEEKS for this to happen. Thankfully it looks pretty and can be made as part of your decor while it is drying.
How to dry or dehydrate rosemary using a DEHYDRATOR
Using a food dehydrator is one of my favorite ways to dry or dehydrate rosemary. It is quick and effective. Prepare your rosemary for drying using the step above.
Once your rosemary is patted dry then you will want to cut it in medium to small sprigs so that they can line up properly on a tray. Place herbs in a single layer on the dehydrator trays.
My dehydrator came with a solid tray. I put this tray at the very bottom row of my dehydrator so that it would catch any of the rosemary needles that fall.
Then slide your dehydrator trays, with rosemary on them, into your dehydrator. Set the temperature to 95 degrees F. Set the dehydration time for four hours. You can check at two and three hours to see if it gets done early.
How to dry or dehydrate rosemary using a kitchen OVEN
Use the steps mentioned above about washing and drying your rosemary. Set your oven temperature to its lowest temperature. Ideally you will want to get as close to 100 degrees F as you can.
Cut rosemary sprigs in to medium to small sticks so they can fit on your baking sheets. Line up the rosemary sprigs in a single layer. There is no need for parchment paper, the sprigs won’t stick to your backing sheet.
Slide your backing sheet into the oven and close the oven door part of the way. Leave a small opening to create better air circulation. The drying process for the oven will take 2-3 hours. Check frequently, sometimes the oven will cook or burn the rosemary needles.
How do you know when rosemary is done drying?
When your rosemary needles can break in half relatively easy then you know the needles are dehydrated. Another sign is when you start to notice some of the needles falling off either on the tray or under your drying bundle.
How do you remove rosemary needles?
a great way to remove the needles from the rosemary stems is by grabbing the tough stems with one hand and using the other to pinch slightly and slide down the stem. If the rosemary is dried properly, the needles will pop off as your fingers slide across the stem.
Prepare your dry or dehydrated rosemary for storage
Rosemary has a hard texture and should be chopped, minced or ground before storing. You can crush with mortar and pestle, or with a rolling pin. You can grind it with a food processor or simply chop with a kitchen knife.
Storing your dried rosemary
The best way to store your dried rosemary is by putting it in an airtight container. Things like a glass jar or mason jar, freezer bags, or mylar bags will all work. Keep your containers in a dark place or spice cabinet for future use. If you leave your jar in the sun, your rosemary will go bad.
How long will your dehydrated rosemary last?
The shelf life of your dried rosemary is 1-2 years. Maybe even a little longer. The best flavor of your rosemary will be earlier on. The older your herbs are, the less potent they become.
How to use dried rosemary
When using your dried rosemary, you will use less than if you were using fresh rosemary. This is the case when using fresh herbs vs dried herbs. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of dried herbs for 1 teaspoon of fresh herbs.
What can I put my dry rosemary in?
Dry rosemary can be put in herb mixes or salad dressings. It can be added to savory dishes too. I love experimenting with herbs. Try adding it to your next savory dish and see how you like it. The kitchen is a place to get creative and discover new tastes!
You are only a couple of hours away from your own dried herbs! Give one of these a try and let me know how it goes! I really like to dehydrate or dry fresh herbs. It is one of my favorite things to do with extra herbs I have growing in my garden.