Catnip is a plant that many of us have never heard before. This plant is also called catswort, catmint, and Nepeta cataria, and it’s a plant that’s been naturalized in New Zealand, North America, and Europe.
The plant is characterized with around 20-39 inches of height and its main blooming season is late spring and autumn. Catnip is used for a variety of reasons – cultivation, insect repellent, biological control, and even in medicine.In this article, we’re going to be talking about dried catnip or better said, methods of drying catnip.
Drying catnip is a great way of giving your cats this cat-pleasing treat. About 80% percent of domestic cats react to catnip and typical reactions include frisking, pawing, and rolling. All in all, it’s a great plant for your cat’s enjoyment and can be included from time to time.
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How to Dry Catnip in Oven
So, there are several ways of drying catnip, but we’ll start with drying catnip in the oven. This method is known to be one of the easiest methods, as you’ll only need an oven and a bit of time to get this right. Of course, the temperature should not be too high, as our goal is to just dry the plant and not destroy it by baking it completely.
Here are two methods of oven catnip drying:
The Expedited Method
The expedited method is very easy to use and it doesn’t require a lot of time to get it right. First, you’ll need to grab a catnip, pinch the leaves and flowers of the plant. After you do it, simply spread the leaves and flowers that you got onto a piece of screen.
Be sure to evenly spread them and not use too much catnip at a time. The temperature of the oven should go well below 150 degrees Celsius and you should stir the leaves from time to time. If you go over 150 degrees Celsius, you can easily scorch your catnip thus leaving it completely useless.
The Over-Night Method
Once again, the method is really simple. Get your catnip, remove the leaves and flowers from the stems, and then lay them on a paper towel. Once you laid them down, simply cover the leaves and flowers with a second paper towel and then get another layer of leaves and flower on it.
The process needs to be repeated up to 5 layers of leaves or 4 layers of paper towel. The difference is that you don’t need to turn on the oven, but turn on the light in the oven instead. This light produces enough heat for overnight drying. Remember not to turn on the oven for heating, as this would cause a fire.
How to Dry Out Catnip
Catnip’s been dried way before the electric oven was invented. That being said, drying out your catnip can be done the natural way, without using an oven, microwave, and any other tech stuff that you have. Drying out your catnip can be done in two ways:
Drying your catnip using the sun is possible only if there’s enough sun. During the summertime, it’s very easy to do, but drying it in other seasons can be quite a complex thing to do. If there’s a lot of solar radiation at your location, here’s what to do. First, cut the stems and lay them on cookie sheets. Alternatively, you can use tin foil or bakery racks instead of cookie sheets.
After you’ve done it, simply leave the plant out in the sun. While this method doesn’t produce very dry catnip like other methods, cats still love it, which is very important. If you don’t want to use tin foil or any similar material, you can tie together 3 or 4 stems and leave them hanging on the sunny window. This method is a bit slower but produces the same effect.
This method includes leaving your catnip to air dry in a dark spot. Stems should not be cut. Instead, you’ll need 3 or 4 stems which you need to place in a paper bag and put them at the bag opening.
It’s recommended that you pierce a couple of holes at the sides to let more air in. Close the top of the bag and hang them in a dark spot. The spot should still be warm and especially dry. If you’re not in a hurry, then air drying is a decent method simply because the duration of the process is determined by your climate conditions. It may last several days, but also for several weeks.
Still, it’s one of the best natural ways to dry catnip. The best dry catnip is produced via natural drying.
How to Dry Fresh Catnip
Fresh catnip is excellent when you want to keep it as a plant for decoration. Its green leaves in conjunction with other decorative plants can really make your room or a terrace prettier.
But, if you want to give it to your cats, you should forget about it. Fresh catnip isn’t as attractive as dry catnip for cats. That’s why we’re going to mention the two most popular methods of drying fresh catnip:
If you want a fast and easy way of drying catnip, this is the one to go for. Before you put your microwave into work, be sure to trim your catnip, but not completely. Some leaves on the plant will make it grow again, so you can use it again if you need it. Next, put the leaves into a microwave-safe container, cover it and let the microwave work its job.
Sometimes, two minutes aren’t enough so you’ll need to give it another minute or two, but two minutes is almost always going to make your catnip dry. Don’t worry if your house starts to smell of catnip, as this smell lasts only about half an hour. And it’s not that bad… or is it?
Drying in a Dark Space
Buy some catnip or use the one that grows in your garden. Preferably, you’ll want to get some wild catnip since it’s not treated with chemicals and other substances that can harm your cat.
Use your scissors to cut the stalks of catnip, but also be sure to cut more than you need. Remember that during the drying process, excessive water evaporates thus making the plant shrink.
Secure your cut catnip with a heavy thread and leave it hanging upside down in the dark area.
Minimize the amount of light in the room or linen closet by closing the doors and windows, if there are some.
Exposing your catnip to light will cause it to lose potency and even lose the desired effect. Excessive lights will ’kill’ the substances in catnip that are responsible for the effect on your cat.
How to Dry Catnip in the Microwave
Drying your catnip in the microwave is as easy as a walk in the park. If you are in a hurry and want to do it the quick way, your microwave can be of great help. You’ll need to remove the leaves and flowers from the stems and place them on the paper towel. The paper towel is excellent because it’s safe for your microwave and won’t produce unwanted effects.
The leaves and flowers should then be covered with another layer of paper towel and microwaved for 1 or 2 minutes on high.
If they’re not dry enough, leave them for another minute and check again. Repeat this process until all the leaves are completely dry. Be sure not to crank up your microwave, as you don’t want to scorch them.
If you don’t own a microwave, you can use a dehydrator, which works in a similar way. Pre-heat your dehydrator to the temperature of 95-115 degrees Fahrenheit. When you get the desired temperature, put the leaves inside, but don’t use any kind of container. Instead, just get the leaves inside every dehydrator tray.
This method is still on the faster side, but the duration depends on the humidity of catnip. It can take anywhere between 1 to 4 hours.
The main thing for every one of the above mentioned methods is that every method works. Your catnip will be completely dried, whichever method you choose, but the quality of the dried catnip depends on the catnip itself and the method you’ve used. The sun drying is a completely natural method but, as we mentioned before, the quality of the dried catnip sometimes isn’t on par with the other methods.
Remember that only the completely dried catnip is ready to be stored and used for your cats. If you dried your catnip with stems, you’ll need to get rid of them by removing flowers and leaves. Dried catnip needs to be stored in a air-tight container where weather conditions can’t influence the quality.
Your dried catnip will keep the quality for 2 years if you keep it in a dry and dark spot. A freezer is also a great option for storing your dried catnip