The aroma of rosemary is best preserved by drying. Without loss of quality, the process takes a few hours or several days, depending on the method.
- best to harvest in summer
- dry whole shoots in the air, in the oven or in a dehydrator
- store in a dark and airtight place
- can be kept for up to two years
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) can be harvested all year round. However, it is most aromatic in the summer months. In addition, it has a positive effect on the aroma if the shrub has been able to soak up plenty of sun for two days or more before cutting. Since the culinary herb must be dry when harvested, the ideal time is
- in the morning (high content of essential oils)
- on a hot, sunny day.
- Cutting in the early afternoon is possible if your time does not permit otherwise, or if the morning is cloudy and the rosemary needs longer to dry.
Note: Harvest rosemary just before it dries, as it will lose quality if you wait longer.
How many shoots you cut depends on the amount of rosemary you want to dry. To ensure that the shrub grows back luxuriantly, you should cut
- cut off a maximum of two-thirds of the rosemary shoots, and leave
- leave a few young shoots.
Tip: Use only sharp cutting tools (knife or scissors) for cutting and be careful not to crush the needles when cutting.
Regardless of the drying method, prepare the rosemary sprigs as follows:
- clean from dirt (shake off).
- remove yellow and withered leaves (needles)
- cut off rotten or damaged parts
- in no case wash (danger of mold)
There are several ways to preserve the aromatic herb:
- in the air
- in the oven
- in a dehydrator
- in the microwave
With all methods the drying process is finished when
- the needles rustle
- you can rub the rosemary leaves with your fingers
- the twigs break easily
Air drying is not only the oldest, but also the most gentle method. You will need:
- (kitchen) twine
- rubber band if necessary
- Tie 6 to 8 rosemary sprigs together at the bottom end to form a bundle
- alternatively fix it with the rubber band
- hang upside down with the yarn
Note: Since the rosemary bundles should hang freely, a nail or hook on the wall is not ideal.
The suitable place is
- warm (optimal: 20 to 30 degrees Celsius)
- dark (at least without direct sunlight)
- airy (no drafts)
How long the drying process takes depends on the conditions. As a rule, the bundles need three to four days to dry.
In the oven
The oven is only an option if it allows temperatures below 50 degrees Celsius. If this is the case, you will need
- a grid (optimal)
- alternatively: baking tray plus baking paper
Step by step instructions
- Place the rosemary sprigs one at a time on the grid or baking sheet. When placing them, make sure that they do not touch the branches.
- Preheat the oven to 30 to 35, maximum 40 degrees Celsius.
- Slide the grid/baking tray onto the top rack of the oven.
- Leave the oven door open a crack so that the moisture produced can escape.
- Depending on the temperature, the process usually takes three to four hours. If this time is not sufficient, leave the twigs in the oven longer and check them regularly.
Tip: You can achieve even drying by turning the twigs once an hour.
In the dehydrator
To dehydrate, place individual rosemary sprigs at a temperature between 30 and a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius
- without overlapping or touching
- (tightly) next to each other
- on the sieve. If your dehydrator has stackable drying screens, you can occupy all the layers. After three to four hours, the twigs should be dried. Let the sieves rotate from time to time, this will speed up the process.
Note: Do not refill the dehydrator during drying, as this will cause the already dried twigs to become damp again.
In the microwave
Microwave is the fastest method to dry rosemary. However, it is associated with quality losses. You will need
- kitchen paper or
- a kitchen towel.
- Spread the rosemary sprigs one by one on a kitchen paper or towel.
- Cover the sprigs with a kitchen towel or paper.
- Run the microwave on the lowest setting for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Open the door to allow the moisture to escape.
- Turn the twigs over and then cover them again.
- Repeat steps 3 to 5 until the rosemary is dry.
You can store dried rosemary
- in a screw-top jar or
- in an opaque container.
- store. Put translucent containers in a dark place. For opaque containers, a bright location is not a problem.
It is best to place the rosemary sprigs whole in the container. This way the aroma will keep better. However, you should use up the dried culinary herb within two years. After that, the aroma is largely gone.
Frequently asked questions
Can I let rosemary dry lying in the air?
Yes, it is possible. To do this, place each branch individually on a kitchen towel. As with hanging, a warm, dry and airy place without direct sunlight is ideal. After three to four days, the process should be completed. If not, just leave the rosemary sprigs longer.
Can I dry just the needles?
Yes, this is possible. Place the needles on a tea towel without overlapping and cover the whole thing with a fly net (fly gauze). Place the rosemary in a warm, airy place out of direct sun. If the rosemary needles have become brittle, you can store them in a container.
Can I store dried rosemary as a powder?
Yes. Reel the needles off the branch. Then you can powder the rosemary needles with a grinder. The powder keeps well in an airtight container in a dark place.