drying oregano

Drying oregano: Step-by-step instructions

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Today is oregano drying day at the Walliser house. Every May I head out to the garden to harvest fresh oregano sprigs. The timing is crucial because if I cut them too early, the flavor isn’t quite up to snuff, but if I cut them too late, four-lined plant bug damage has marred the beautiful foliage and the flower buds have already developed. Early to mid-May seems to be the perfect time for drying oregano.

Here’s how I go about drying oregano.


Oregano is an easy herb to grow and dry.

First, I head out to the garden with a sharp pair of herb scissors. I gather a large handful of tender, green shoots with my left hand and cut them with my right, making sure the cut ends of the stems all line up. I give the handful of oregano a few quick, brisk shakes to dislodge any insects and debris, then I wrap the base of the stems with a rubber band. I continue this process until I have six or seven bunches. We go through a lot of oregano in the winter, and I never like to run out of homegrown herbs!

Once the bunches are inside, I unfold one paperclip for each bunch and use the paperclip’s “S” as a hook, sliding one end under the rubber band and using the other end to hook the bunch of oregano to its drying location. I extend a piece of jute twine from one side of my kitchen window to the other, fastening it securely to a tea cup hook I installed on each end of the window frame. Then I hang the bunches up on the twine, placing them a good five or six inches apart to allow for good air circulation.

Herb bunch for drying

I use an unfolded paperclip to make a hanger for my herb bunches.

The same drying line also serves to dry thyme, basil, parsley, and other herbs later in the season. If I’m only drying a few bunches of herbs, I’ll hang them directly on the tea cup hooks, rather than installing the jute twine.

My drying oregano is ready in four to six weeks; sometimes sooner if the weather isn’t overly humid. Once they’re fully dried, I cut off the rubber band, separate the dried sprigs, and crush the leaves. I store my crushed oregano in a Mason jar in a dark cupboard.

Bunch of oregano drying

A bunch of drying oregano hangs at the corner of my kitchen window with part of last year’s Thai chili pepper crop.

Are you drying oregano or other herbs this year?

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Drying Oregano: A Step-by-step guide

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12 Responses to Drying oregano: Step-by-step instructions

  1. Maddy Karpiak says:

    Thanks for the tip on the oregano. A friend gave me a great tip for parsley. All you need to do is cut off the leaves (I use the flat leaf parsley) place it in a food processor to chop it into quarter inch size pieces and put it in a plastic container and directly into the freezer. It’s ready to go into any dish – hot or cold.

  2. Jen says:

    Can oregano only be cut once a year or does it keep growing? If it flowers can it still be harvested? Thanks for the blog!

    • Oregano can be harvested several times throughout the spring, but flowering will cause the flavor to be slightly altered. For that reason, I don’t recommend harvesting after the plant comes into flower.

  3. Jackie says:

    In Greece, where Oregano is the most used herb, and incidentally grows wild, it is harvested for the flowers.

  4. Melissa says:

    This is great to know, as I too get an onslaught of four lined plant bugs, so I just harvested my oregano before they attack it! Looks like you don’t wash your herbs that you dry, is that right? Thanks again.

    • Nope. I don’t wash them. If I do, they get moldy. My herbs are all grown organically so I just shake the harvest bunches to dislodge anything and get to tying and drying.

  5. Cheryl Boulay says:

    I love your idea of an elastic and paper clip. Just used it and have oregano hanging in my kitchen now. Thank you.

  6. Alice says:

    Thank you for the tips on drying oregano and other herbs. I just harvested Greek oregano, thyme, basil and dill. I will use the rubber band and paper clip to hang and dry.😊

  7. John says:

    I live in Singapore where the humidity is quite high. Would the same method of drying work? I read another post where someone recommended to put the bunches in a perforated paper back in a dark space. Your opinion please. Thanks

    • In super humid climates, I suggest drying herbs in your oven. Set it to a very low temperature (200 degrees F), spread the herbs on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven until they are fully dry. It might take only an hour or two, or perhaps a little longer depending on how turgid they are when you harvest them.

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