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| Drying Peppermint for Export |
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Faisal Sadis
Posted on: February 27, 2007
What is the best way to dry bulk quantities of fresh peppermint for commercial purpose and ship it to another country to pack it into teabags?
I have put up spearmint and peppermint leaf crops since 1969. I have also taught several groups to harvest this crop for their own uses. It takes me about two years working steadily with a farmer before they get it right. I am also available as an outside consultant, to help you produce this product.
Peppermint herb is cut at 10% flower (or less), and laid down into a wide windrow with a light condition (two breaks) on the stem. At about 20% wilt, it is turned with a side-throw delivery rake, and laid in a deeper windrow. At 60% wilt, the drying herb is then taken up with a forage harvester, usually with an open throat. That allows scalping of the stem from the leaf. The leaf is dry by now, while the stem is still partially wet.
Further sifting dries the leaf to 12%, where it is then milled into various particle sizes for sifting. For a complete description of that process, please read my book "A Processing Facility" at