How to Dry Fresh Basil: Did you know you can dry your own basil? Forget about the high prices at the store. Summer means gardens are overflowing with basil and that means it’s time to get busy and work on preserving it for the colder months. Find out FOUR WAYS you can dry fresh basil.
Dry Herb Measurements VS Fresh Herbs
How to Dry Fresh Basil Four-Ways
This is my favorite method for drying fresh herbs. Once the herbs are prepped the dehydrator does all the work.
- Once the herbs have been prepped, lay the leaves (no stems) on the drying racks. Set the dehydrator to the lowest temperature (about 95°). My dehydrator is simple….it only has one setting.
- OTHER POSTS: I’m reading a lot of posts that claim it could take anywhere between 12 to 24 hours for the leaves to dry (depending on the moisture content in the basil.
- MY EXPERIENCE: …IT ONLY TOOK 2 HOURS! The other posts are not clear about how big of a batch they were trying to dry. Maybe it’s because I have a cheap dehydrator with only one setting and it dried at a hotter temp then the more expensive models. Who knows….I say all this to caution you to watch your basil. Once the leaves are crunchy it is done!
- Dry fresh basil in the oven. Oven-drying is an easy way to dry fresh basil. For the best results, let the basil leaves air-dry for a few days before you try drying them in the oven. Then preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting, or around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the individual basil leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. At a minimum, it will take an hour and half for the basil to dry in the oven. Check on the leaves regularly—they’re done when the basil crumbles easily between your fingers.
- Place a towel on a microwave-plate, then places the leaves on the towel single file, and then another towel on top.
- Microwave in 3 times in 30 second bursts. The basil leaves should shrivel. It’ll continue to dry out even at room temperature.
- Harvest the basil. If you’re drying fresh basil already cut from the plant, you can skip to the second step. If you’re harvesting the basil from a growing plant, cut or pinch the fresh basil leaves right above the leaf node—this will encourage further growth if the plant is still in its growing season. Or to harvest the whole plant, cut the entire stem almost to the soil line. (This won’t prevent the basil from growing back next season.)
- Clean the basil. Rinse the stems in cool water. Dry the leaves in a salad spinner or lay them out on a kitchen towel or paper towels in a single layer to absorb excess water before you begin the drying process in earnest.
- Hang the basil to air-dry. If your stems are still attached to your basil, gather a bunch of stems together and tie string tightly around the ends of the stems. Hang them upside-down in front of a window where they will receive direct sunlight and good airflow around all of the leaves—this will help the excess moisture to evaporate.
How to Store Dried Basil Leaves
PANTRY: Store dried basil in an airtight container. You can keep the leave whole or store them crushed. For a more rustic look, crush the leaves with your hands. For a finer texture, use a mortar and pestle.
FREEZER: Mix crushed dried basil leaves with olive oil and freeze them in ice cube trays—remove cubes as needed for recipes throughout the year.
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