I have oregano in my garden. But I only use it fresh. How should I properly dry the oregano so I can get something similar to oregano found in the stores?
This page lists several methods for drying and storing herbs. A quick summary:
- Food dehydrator - a topic unto itself
- Air drying - Indoors or out, you need shelter, low humidity, and air circulation
- Sun drying - Low humidity, need to make sure the sunlight is not too intense
- Microwave oven or traditional oven - use very low temperatures
I've seen it done a set of stems tied together and hanged upside down (leaves pointing to the ground) on a string on a dry room.
That said, I think fresh oregano is so much nicer and tastier than dried one that I wouldn't even bother to dry it.
I would suspect you could use Alton Brown's Jerky method. I haven't done it with herbs but it worked great for the Jerky and should provide the same effect.
You use a box fan and paper furnace filters.
Lay the filters on the out side of the fan with your herbs between the layers of filters, bungee cord the filters to the fan and leave the fan running.
Not sure timing for the herbs, would just have to check them periodically.
Tie stems together in a brown paper bag, and hang somewhere away from heat and moisture for a few weeks.
Once they're dry, strip the leaves off of each stem and store in zip-lock bags until needed. Make sure they're good and dry before sealing though, or they'll mold!
Along with what Donut mentioned, I've had luck with fridge drying, but it's slow:
Lay out a length of paper towel, then lay out the leaves on it, and roll it up, and hide it in the back of your fridge for a few weeks.
I have success drying fresh herbs in microwave. It's quick and you get reasonable results in just a few minutes. I did it for mint and basil, and I'm sure you can dry oregano using this method too.
I learned that it is possible after I had read this Tipnut article and been doing it since then whenever I have excess fresh herbs at hand.