It’s very easy to dry herbs using the microwave; it’s almost magical. Carefully lay out the leaves, slide them into the microwave, nuke, beeeep, beeeep, beeeep… VOILA! Dried herbs.
Microwave-dried herbs retain excellent color and potency. Start by laying the herb foliage in a single layer on a paper towel, either on the oven rack or on the glass insert. Cover the leaves with another paper towel and microwave on high for 1 minute. Then check the herbs, and if they are still soft, keep testing at 20- to 30-second intervals. Microwave ovens differ in power output, so you’ll have to experiment. Keep track of your results with each kind of herb.
Microwave drying is a bit easier on plant tissue than oven drying, because the water in the herb leaves absorbs more of the energy than the plant tissue does. The water in the leaves gets hot and evaporates – that’s why the paper towels get damp during the drying process- leaving drying plant tissue behind. The plant tissue heats up a little because of the contact with the water, but the water absorbs most of the heat. In a conventional oven, all the plant material gets hot, not just the water.
For my 900-watt microwave, it took 45 to 60-seconds to dry parsley. I laid the larger, thicker leaves around the outer edge, which is the hottest part of the microwave. After the dried herbs have cooled, store them in air-tight containers away from heat and light. Keeps well for several months.
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