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I recently collected Eucalyptus leaves that I'd like to dry out to later on make herbal tea from.

I've cleaned the leaves and scattered them on a grid, but I'm wondering if there are fast techniques to dry them (faster would also mean less bacteria or dust collecting on them).

I didn't collect the whole branch, just the leaves, so hanging them isn't the easiest way for me. I'm wondering if there's a solution involving using the oven or the stove to dry them out.

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You can dry herbs, chillies etc. in an oven, if your oven goes low enough. A dough proving setting is good though you can go just a little warmer. If the door makes a tight seal the moisture can't get out, so it's worth opening the door just a little once it's up to temperature.

If you find you're making a habit of drying food, a food dehydrator is a good idea. This is especially true for strong smelling foods as you can put the dehydrator somewhere well ventilated - if you dry chillies in the oven they will make your eyes water every time you go in the kitchen, and it wouldn't surprise me if eucalyptus was similar.

  • Thanks! What's a good idea of a temperature setting that would do the job? – MicroMachine Apr 30 '16 at 9:12
  • Basically as low as you can get. 35-50C (95-120F) should work. Much higher and they start to toast. – Chris H Apr 30 '16 at 10:30
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    If your oven doesn't get low enough, you can still likely use it by (several cycles of) heating the oven empty, turning it off, and putting the leaves in while the oven cools down - once it's cool enough it won't toast your leaves, of course. It's a manual way of regulating your oven temperature. – Megha Jan 25 '17 at 1:56
  • @Megha that's a good point, made easier with even a cheap oven thermometer. A large stack of baking sheets stores a bit of heat slowing down the cycle time. – Chris H Jan 25 '17 at 6:43
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Pick your leaves and pluck off the little stem. Put them into a large paper grocery bag. Roll the top closed, but do not flatten the bag. Set the bag out in the sun, and shake up the leaves inside to rearrange them periodically. When I lived in California, it took three days at the longest to dry my leaves, and they stayed nicely green because of no direct contact with sunlight. I also did this with bay laurel.

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