My DIY indoor cat garden post has been pretty popular and I have been meaning to write a little update on how my cats, Orion and Pete, liked their cat garden a month later. As blog post ideas tend to do, that update has morphed into a post on how to dry fresh catnip since we had so much of it in our garden.
Oddly enough, neither Orion nor Pete were particularly fond of fresh catnip. They were far more interested in the cat grass (wheatgrass) which I found odd so I did what anyone would do; I consulted Professor Google on why that is.
According to Dr. Google, it isn't uncommon for cats to not take to fresh catnip as much as dried catnip. I found that interesting, but cats are fickle creatures so who am I to ask why? In my reading I also stumbled upon a quick and easy way to dry our fresh catnip and decided that I had to put it to the test.
Related post: How to Make an Indoor Cat Garden
Did it work?
The fresh catnip is toward the front of the cat garden and to the left. It is a member of the mint family and while my cats liked to smell it occasionally, they mostly left it alone. However, all of that lovely smelling catnip didn't and won't go to waste!
How to dry fresh catnip in the microwave:
*Note: take your time and do not over-dry the catnip so you don't risk burning it.
Trim your catnip, leaving some leaves on the plant so it will continue to grow. Trim the leaves off the stems of the plant then put the catnip inside a microwave-safe container with a cover.
Put it in the microwave for 15 to 30-second intervals. It is important to dry the catnip slowly and keep a close eye on it until it dries. Once it is just barely dry, stop running the microwave and remove your catnip. This is very important because the catnip can burn in the microwave!
It took about two minutes in my microwave. At the end of the two minutes, your house will reek of catnip, but it will be dry and ready for the kitties. Not to worry, the catnip smell went away in about a half-hour or so.
If you are worried about drying catnip in the microwave, scroll down for other methods you can try.
I put our dried fresh catnip in a jar to keep it fresh and put it out for the boys. The verdict: they loved it! Orion couldn't even wait for me to take it out of the jar. Goofy cat.
I have noticed that they eat the dried fresh catnip when they don't eat the store-bought dried catnip. They also don't roll around in it as much as the store-bought variety. Even so, they seem to enjoy it just as much, just in a different way.
Drying fresh catnip is so easy and the plant itself is pretty enough that I'm happy to have it in my home, so it's a win-win. If you're looking for a little extra love from your feline housemates, grow some fresh catnip and dry it up for them to enjoy. I'm sure they will thank you.
Other Methods of Drying Catnip
Drying catnip in the oven
If you aren't an instant gratification kind of person like I am, you could take the slower approach and dry fresh catnip in the oven. With this method, low and slow is the way to go.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the fresh catnip evenly and in one layer on an oven tray or cookie sheet and place it in the oven. Leave the oven open a crack for ventilation and bake the catnip for approximately ten minutes. Check the catnip and if it still isn't dry, turn it over on the pan and put it in for another couple of minutes, checking frequently until it is dry. Be careful not to scorch the catnip or it will be ruined.
Air drying fresh catnip
If you aren't in a rush at all to dry catnip, you could opt to air dry it the old fashioned way. Tie a few stems of catnip together, but not too many because you want air to be able to circulate through the bunch. About three of four stems is a good starting point. Tie the stems or wrap a rubber band around the end and hang the bundle upside down in a dry dark place such as an interior closet, garage, or shed. Depending on your climate, the drying process could take a few days to a week or more.
Bonus: easy no-sew catnip cat toys
Now that you have a bunch of freshly dried catnip, what do you do with it? You could put it on the floor for them as I did, but that can get messy. Instead, why not make a super simple DIY cat toy. Trust me, I am not a sewer and these are so easy!