Knowing how to dry bay leaves means being able to spice up your cooking year round, and being able to give thoughtful gifts of home-dried herbs to the gourmets in your life. It's very easy to dry bay leaves. Follow these instructions to get the best results every time.
- Pick bay leaves that have no tears or blemishes. When you want to dry bay leaves, make sure that you gather the leaves after the morning dew has evaporated so that there is a minimum of moisture on the leaves. Also, make sure that the leaves you are gathering have not been recently treated with pesticides that may not be food safe.
- Lightly wipe the leaves with a soft cloth to remove any dirt or dust. Make sure that you do not bruise the bay leaves. Bruised or cracked leaves can release their oil into the air during storage instead of into the food you will season with your dry bay leaves.
- Arrange the leaves on a cookie sheet, and place in a 170 degree oven. Prop the oven door open so to make sure that there is enough air circulation. You want to dry bay leaves, not bake them.
- Dry the bay leaves in the oven until they are thoroughly dehydrated and crack when bent. If they are still pliable, it means that there is still moisture in the leaves. Removing them from the oven when they are still moist can lead to the bay leaves molding when you store them.
- Store the dry bay leaves in a lidded glass container. Make sure that they are in a place that does not get too hot or too cold, and is away from light. Dark glass jars are perfect for storing dry bay leaves.