How to Dry Fresh Catnip in Two Minutes

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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

*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.

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.

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. 

What to do with catnip once it dried

Now that you’ve dried your catnip, now what? Putting it on the floor is messy and who wants extra vacuuming? Not me!

You could spread the dried catnip around a scratching post or cat tower, or use a refillable cat toy. These are toys that have a hole in it specifically for catnip that you can refresh over and over again.

Or, you could make your own homemade cat toys. They’re really easy to make even if you don’t know how to sew.

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!

Last update on 2021-07-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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15 Comments

  1. Muriel Katz says:

    Because I grew up with “Waste not, want not”, I was wondering if you can sprout dried catnip that was initially bought in a store for your kitty to play with/eat/enjoy?!

    We have just one kitty…a 12-yr old ‘Queen of the Castle’ calico that loves the loose dried catnip I get from local stores’ pet departments. I’ll place about a third to a half cup of this onto a paper plate, leaving it near her main recreational area…the couch. But after a day or two she loses interest and the catnip just sits there, waiting for me to throw it out. (The main container is kept in the freezer so the contents stay as fresh as possible.)

    So, while it’s not the biggest expense in the world, I was wondering if I could grow some catnip from the herbs I’m tossing out.

    Because of having grown pepper and tomato plants like this, I’ve placed some of our kitty’s left-over dried herbs in a single layer onto a paper towel…then placed that in an open plastic food container…then placed another paper towel on top of the herbs…and then wet the whole thing down, making sure the herbs remained wet after the initial water was sopped up by the paper towels. (Wet, not swimming. Lol!)

    In three days’ time, the paper towels have turned a nicotine-brown along a few dry edges, and pale olive green where wet! Kind of smells like hay in a barn, too. (Grew up on a small farm. Lol)

    Then the container was placed under a gooseneck lamp with an LED light here on my computer desk. And that’s where it sits right now.

    Anyone have any ideas if this will work? Or am I just keeping myself “occupied”? Lol. And what’s with the green and brown colors? Does this mean the catnip was ‘treated’ in some way?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    1. I would say probably not because what is dried up is the leaves, not the seeds. If you find a seed then you might be able to try it since it wouldn’t hurt, but I think the best bet would be to buy some catnip seeds. That would be less expensive than a plant and you will be able to grow as many plants as you want with a pack of seeds.

    2. Mark Nelson says:

      The answer is “yes”. Or, at least from the package I was using.

      I have been giving catnip out on my patio all summer – the spaces between the pavers are now overgrown with catnip plants. Some are 8-10″ tall!

  2. 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!

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

  3. 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!

  4. Edna Williams says:

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

  5. gloria patterson says:

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

  6. Grea tip! How I miss having a cat.

  7. Allyson Bossie says:

    So cute watchin g them get their zen on!

  8. Jessica C. says:

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

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

  9. Deborah D says:

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

  10. Amber Ludwig says:

    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!!

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

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