I enjoy growing catnip in my garden. What’s the best way to dry the plants to serve to my cat?

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You can either air dry catnip or put it in the oven. First, however, you need to know that it’s best to pick this member of the mint family when in full bloom. Also, please realize that the flavor tends to be at its peak in the morning, right after the first dew.

Then, you can put it in cat toys, use it as a treat (it’s often a better alternative that the often high-fat and highly processed treats) or just mix it in the food.

To air dry:
• Pick the catnip by cutting the stalks a few inches above the ground with a pair of gardening shears.
• Separate the plants into small bunches. There should be about six plants per bunch.
• String each bunch together by wrapping a rubber band or piece of string around the lower portion of the stalks.
• Hang each bunch upside down in a well-ventilated area, with a room temperature between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the leaves once they become crispy and put them in an airtight container. Store them in a cool, dark area and use as needed.
Air drying will take about two weeks before it’s completely ready for storage.Another option is to utilize the oven for drying and this is a lot faster. It will take about a day to be fully ready for storage.

To oven dry:
• Preheat the oven to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Place the catnip in a single layer on a cookie sheet and set it in the oven.
• Stir catnip every 30 minutes for three to six hours or until it is crispy.
• Allow catnip to cool and then store in a cool, dark area in an airtight container.

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