Mint is one of those herbs that keeps very well and can be enjoyed in drinks or dishes out of season.

Mint (Mentha) and its famous variety, peppermint (Mentha x piperita), are probably among the most popular herbs in Germany. Its intense, fresh aroma makes the plant a real treat and provides culinary sensations as mint tea, in drinks or as a spice. However, if you want to supply yourself with home-grown mint all year round, you should take precautions in good time. Drying mint is not difficult and there are other ways to preserve mint. How to proceed and what you should pay attention to, we explain here.

Preserving mint: Drying and freezing

Fresh mint from your own garden still has the most intense aroma. How to plant mint, you can read in an extra article. Unfortunately, the herb will only last a few days in the refrigerator before it wilts and is no longer usable. But since mint in the garden and on the balcony can be harvested only until the first frosts in the fall, gardeners need to store their yield differently to experience the pleasure of the fresh plant until next spring. Drying and freezing have proven useful in preserving mint, as this preserves the flavor well.

  • Drying mint

Drying is a great way to preserve mint. A big advantage of drying mint is that ingredients and flavor are largely preserved. The following applies: the gentler the drying, the more intense the aroma. There are now numerous ways to dry mint after harvesting. After harvesting mint, it is first cleaned. In this process, water should be avoided, otherwise important essential oils will be lost. So, try to shake off soil or other impurities and sort out shoots that are already dried up or diseased.

Mint drying method:

  • Air dry mint: this method is the gentlest and thus the aroma is well preserved. Dry mint at 68 °F without direct sunlight for about 2 to 3 weeks either on drying nets or suspended in loose bundles.
  • Drying mint in the oven: A quick and easy way to dry mint is to use an oven. The leaves must be spread individually on the baking sheet and dried at about 86 to 122°F for about 20 minutes.
  • Drying mint in a dehydrator: For this purpose, the leaves are distributed on the shelves in the device, without overlapping. The mint is dried on the lowest setting until it is sufficiently dry.
  • Drying mint in the microwave: If you don’t have a lot of time, you can dry your mint especially quickly in the microwave. Place a handful of the leaves on a microwave-safe plate and dry the mint in 10-second intervals on the lowest setting. There is one drawback to microwaving mint-drying: much of the fresh flavor of the mint is lost as the leaves heat up quickly.


  • Freezing mint

Whether you should freeze mint or dry it is a question that divides minds. In fact, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Undoubtedly, freezing preserves the flavor better, which is why this method is good for storing mint for drinks or dishes. Often, to freeze mint, the leaves are already chopped and frozen in portions with a little water in an ice cube tray – this makes an aromatic eye-catcher for cool drinks in summer. However, if you prefer to have whole leaves to garnish dishes, you should rely on drying the mint: Frozen mint leaves eventually become mushy and unsightly when thawed. Dried leaves are also best for mint tea. When it comes to shelf life, there is little difference between the two methods: if stored well, both frozen and dried mint can be kept for up to a year.

Properly store and preserve mint

Once the mint leaves are well dried, they can be transferred to a convenient storage option. You can tell if the mint is completely dry by two signs: First, the mint leaves curl when dried, and second, they can be detached from the stem and easily crumbled by minimally touching them with your finger. Are the leaves still smooth or can they only be picked off by tearing? If so, the mint is not yet dry enough to be stored without spoiling. After the leaves have been sufficiently dried, they should ideally be stored in a cool, dry place protected from sunlight. Glass jars with screw caps are best for this purpose, but airtight Tupperware jars also offer safe protection. Those who value a long shelf life and a full-bodied aroma can vacuum pack the dried mint in small portions. Properly stored, dried mint leaves will keep for several months, sometimes up to a year – though the flavor will suffer with continued storage.