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I've been curious about how to make fine powder from leafy herbs for some time now (I don't mean merely flakes). We can have large amounts of tarragon, basil, etc. in the garden. It would be nice to be able to make a fine, powdered form. How can I do this?

I'm especially looking for alternatives besides coffee grinders, since I'd be uncomfortable with using that solution.

  • You'll have to dry them first, and well, otherwise you'll get a paste. How well can you dry them so far? Is it that you don't want your coffee to taste of herbs? – Chris H Jun 15 '18 at 7:46
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    Just curious, (and it might help with responses) how would you use these powdered herbs? – moscafj Jun 15 '18 at 11:58
  • Adding this comment because of a remote suspicion, also for future readers who google/stumble on this question. If the leafy herb in question is a particular soft drug (which is used in powder form culinarily), DO NOT put it in the oven or microwave as some answers suggest. Both the kitchen (and device) will retain that smell for eternity. – Flater Jun 15 '18 at 13:45
  • @Flater voice of experience? – Spagirl Jun 15 '18 at 15:08
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    @ChrisH I just don't want to own a coffee grinder, since I don't drink coffee and some people might get the wrong impression, or visitors might decide to make coffee in it (which may have an effect on the future powder). Also on threads I've seen before on forums that was the primary suggestion (so, I'm looking for other ideas). – Shule Jun 16 '18 at 1:41
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Mill them.
When you dry them very well ( so when you think they are dry put them in oven for 20 minutes at around 40 Celsius).

Then use mortar. This is it exact use in kitchen, to turn moist things into paste and dry things into powder. If you don't have one use poor man hand mill.
Put leaf on large cutting board and then use smaller one on top. Move it in circular motion with little to no pressure.

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Modernist bartenders use cryo-muddling. This is a technique where herbs are added to a cocktail shaker, liquid nitrogen (LN) is added, then the herbs are muddled. This allows one to muddle the herbs into a powder. It further allows excellent flavor extraction, without browning or off-flavors. Of course, in this instance you do have to use it immediately to build a cocktail. I imagine you could use LN to pulverize, and then freeze the powder for use of fresh herbs later. This, of course, requires access and the know how to safely use LN.

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    I've done a little LN cooking so fancy giving this a go. Be warned that you need very good insulation between your hand and a metal container holding LN. And I say that as someone who really isn't bothered about being splashed with it a little. Cryo-muddling then drying would be possible - but pretty much pointless – Chris H Jun 15 '18 at 11:27
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    @ChrisH correct, one of the advantages is to avoid drying...and it doesn't take that much LN in a cocktail situation. – moscafj Jun 15 '18 at 11:47
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    As a chemist, who used a lot of LN, having neophytes using LN worries me. There are a lot of ways to get into trouble with LN. – MaxW Jun 15 '18 at 14:38
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    @MaxW fair... but these days it is a much more common kitchen ingredient, certainly in commercial applications, and more frequently at home. Just like knives and fire, it can kill you. Clearly, it requires knowledge of how to transport, contain, and use it safely. – moscafj Jun 15 '18 at 21:54
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Food Dehydrators can be used to dry the herbs until they are ready to be ground into a fine powder. Then a mortar and pestle can be used for grinding.

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