January 20, 2016

Drying Neem Leaves without a Dehydrator

Many neem leaves grow together on thin stems. Remove the leaves by holding the thin stem firmly between your thumb and index finger and then dragging downwards. The leaves simply flick off, even when green.
Drying Neem Leaves without a Dehydrator tropical permaculture
In fact, once you have gotten the hang of removing the leaves, you can do several stems at a time.
Drying Neem Leaves without a Dehydrator tropical permaculture
I do this directly into a brown paper bag.

Afterwards, I remove any stems that fell into the bag.
Drying Neem Leaves without a Dehydrator tropical permaculture


Fold the bag shut and place it in a cool dry cupboard. If you look closely below, you will see that, within a week or two, the leaves began to turn slightly brown.
 
Below is a different batch that I had found in my kitchen. It had cured well to the extent that it is now very crunchy. If the leaves are damp, discard them. They must be crunchy and dry.
Drying Neem Leaves without a Dehydrator tropical permaculture
 
At this stage, the leaves are so naturally crispy that they can be put into a sealed tin without problems. I often use them in several ways that mainly include teas to drink, teas for my body soaps, herbal enemas for my naturopathic cleanses and for spraying in the garden.
 The process can take some time, as many as several months. If that is too long, you can use a dehydrator pictured below and sold on Amazon. I know this is sometimes a useful option if you wish to powder the leaves. To powder the leaves, you can use a coffee grinder (also pictured below).
 

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