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How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

by Regan

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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.

How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

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?

How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

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:

How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

Trim your catnip, leaving some leaves on the plant so it will continue to grow, then loosely fold the catnip between two paper towels. Put the catnip wrapped in paper towels in a microwave-safe container with a cover. If the catnip isn’t yet dry, put it in the microwave for 30-second intervals until it dries. It took about two minutes in my microwave.

*Note: take your time and do not over-dry the catnip so you don’t risk burning it. 

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.

How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes
How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

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.


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. 

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!

DIY No-Sew Jellyfish Catnip Toy
DIY No-Sew Gingerbread Person Catnip Toy

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Brenda August 30, 2016 - 7:14 pm

The cat garden and drying the catnip is a wonderful idea! My grandcat…and our three cats will love this. My Thomasina loves wheat and oat grass too and begs her “Paw, Paw” for it when he is making his morning coffee!

Regan August 30, 2016 - 7:35 pm

My kitties loved them both! I hope yours do, too.

Trish July 31, 2016 - 5:17 pm

I bought some catnip last year from a nursery that was going out of business, and my cats didn’t respond to it at all. This year got some from a different nursery and the cats wait by the door every time I go out in the hope that I will bring them a sprig. (I have some in pots on the patio and planted some in the garden so it will grow again next spring.) I don’t know if there are different strains of catnip plant but apparently they are not all equally potent. Perhaps this is the case with your catnip too. My cats love to eat the fresh catnip leaves, but I will be drying it for them too. Thanks for the info!

Edna Williams April 30, 2016 - 8:54 pm

That’s interesting! So great! Never thought of growing my own! Thanks for sharing!

gloria patterson April 29, 2016 - 10:24 am

cat garden !!!!! what a great great ideal this I have to make!!! I never thought about drying it but will also try this

Amy Hall April 20, 2016 - 8:26 pm

Grea tip! How I miss having a cat.

Allyson Bossie April 17, 2016 - 12:49 pm

So cute watchin g them get their zen on!

Jessica C. April 16, 2016 - 9:38 pm

How interesting! Maybe I’ll try growing catnip this year, and drying it in my dehydrator.

Regan April 16, 2016 - 9:45 pm

That would be perfect! I’ve thought of getting one for fresh herbs and catnip is just one more reason. Hmm.

Deborah D April 16, 2016 - 5:29 pm

I am telling my sister about this post. As she has a cat & this would help her.

Amber Ludwig April 16, 2016 - 3:41 pm

Oooh I am forwarding this info onto my mom!! They grow it for their cats but they are never patient enough for it to dry!!

katie April 16, 2016 - 1:40 pm

That’s so funny that they preferred it dry and I love their names!