Having dried bay leaves for cooking is well worth it. You can dry them yourself. So just how do you dry fresh bay leaves at home? It is easy to do regardless of what type of oven you have. Although some methods are better than others.
You can use your conventional oven, convection oven or halogen oven. You can even use your microwave if you only have a small amount.
Some people prefer food dehydrators as they dry really slowly and yield the best results for drying unless you are drying naturally.
I prefer to use my halogen oven for this as I only need small amounts and using the big oven isn’t really worth it. You can easily get a jar of leaves from your oven
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How to Dry Bay Leaves For Cooking
What is the Best Way to Dry Bay Leaves?
The best way to dry bay leaves in my view is naturally. To do this you need the time and the space to keep them as it takes about 2 weeks for them to dry. The second best would be in a food dehydrator if you have one as this is designed specifically for the task and only takes a couple of hours. However, unless you are drying a lot or you have the room to store it then it isn’t worth getting one for the odd occasion. My sister has one and they really are great. However, a halogen oven also works well.
Can I Dry Bay Leaves in the Oven?
Yes, you can dry bay leaves in the oven whether it be a conventional one or a convection or halogen oven.
Where Can I Store My Bay Leaves Once Dried?
You can store them in an airtight container with a lid. Make sure you keep them away from direct sunlight though and ideally in the dark in a dry location.
How to Dry Bay Leaves in Your Halogen Oven/Convection Oven
You may decide that you want to dry fresh bay leaves as you prefer the flavour of dried to fresh.
- Remove your leaves from the plant carefully without damaging them.
- Wash your bay leaves and make sure all bugs and debris have been removed.
- Check your leaves are good quality and have not been damaged.
- Pick larger leaves for a strong flavour and the smaller ones if you prefer a more subtle flavour.
- Get your round tray with holes in.
- Place baking sheet on the tray.
- Spread out your leaves on the tray. Make sure they are not touching so only one layer.
- Add another sheet.
- Add more leaves to that sheet.
- Then add another sheet.
- Do this a few times ending up with a sheet (max 5 or six sheets).
- Put the tray on to the lower rack of your oven.
- When you use the halogen oven to dry bay leaves you will need to weigh down the top sheet as in halogens the paper will rise with the movement of air. If you can get the top rack in, put it over the whole tray this helps stop any danger of paper rising as well.
- You need to set the oven to a low-temperature 150C. You are not cooking your leaves just drying them. They are ready when they are dry and brittle. This should take one to two hours. However, halogens are very fast so keep an eye on them.
Safety Note: Most people recommend using kitchen towels. However, for safety reasons, I am not too keen on this for halogen oven drying as I would be concerned about them floating up and catching the element. If using your halogen make sure your paper used is very secure. I often put another metal grid over the top to prevent this.