The best time to pick the leaves or flowers of fenugreek is just after they have started to open during the morning hours. Fenugreek leaves are commonly used in Indian cooking, which includes curry dishes, side dishes like nan bread and garnishes such as chutney. Whole leaves are used in salads and as a garnish. There are three ways to dry fenugreek leaves: microwave, oven, and air-dry.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Whole fenugreek leaves
- Paper towels
- Conventional oven
- Baking tray
- Drying rack
Place one sheet of paper towel in your microwave. Arrange a handful of the leaves on the paper towel. Spread them out carefully so air can freely pass through the leaves.
Cover the leaves gently with another paper towel and close the microwave door.
Set the microwave's "cook" option on the low setting, set the cooking time for 10 seconds, and press "start."
Open the door and turn the leaves over. Repeat the process. Do not dry the leaves for more than 10 seconds at a time without turning them.
Preheat your oven to 107 degrees C.
Arrange the fenugreek leaves evenly on a clean baking tray. Wait until the oven has reached the desired temperature before placing the baking tray on the middle rack of your oven.
Check the leaves every 10 minutes, turning them until they reach the desired level of dryness. Turning the leaves is not required if you use a convection oven.
Arrange the leaves evenly on a drying rack in a dry place. Make sure there is no danger of humidity or contact with direct sunlight.
Turn leaves every few hours.
Remove leaves from drying rack after at least two days. Check to be sure leaves are sufficiently dry.
Tips and warnings
- Aside from their ubiquitous use in curries and other dishes associated with South Asia, fenugreek also compliments potato and chicken dishes.
- If you use a convection oven, the drying process will be faster. Adjust the drying time accordingly.
- Prepare the leaves for drying as soon as possible after harvesting. This will help the leaves retain their high iron content.
- Drying herbs should be kept out of direct sunlight as this causes them to turn brown and damages the nutrient content.
- Use your microwave with caution if you choose this method. This is the fastest way to dry leaves but it is also the easiest way to over-dry and damage the leaves.
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