If you are crazy about basil, drying it yourself can have its aromatic leaves at any time of the year. Basil should be harvested just before blooming for optimal flavor. Drying basil is easy; just hang it upside down in a warm, dry place. To make the process quicker, use the oven or a food dehydrator. Learn to dry this herb like a true chef to have it on hand whenever you want to use it in a recipe.
Harvesting and cutting the basil
Harvest the basil just before it blooms
The basil will bloom when all the leaves on a stem have finished growing. After this happens, the herb will lose some of its flavor. The flowers appear between the bunches of leaves arranged in a pyramid shape. Be conscious to prepare and dry the basil once all its leaves have sprouted, but before the plant begins to flower.
- Basil leaves contain their maximum amount of oil just before the plant blooms, so harvesting them at this time will ensure you get the highest possible intensity of flavor once you’ve dried them.
- Harvest them mid-morning. This is the best time to harvest the leaves, as the plant will have been watered but the leaves will have dried in the sun.
Cut the basil leaves from the stems.
Separate the basil bouquets and cut the leaves individually, from the main stem. Flatten them by separating each leaves and clean properly. Leave a portion of the stem, no more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, at the base of each leaf to gather and tie into a bundle.
Rinse the leaves well.
Rinse the cut basil leaves under cold water before drying. In this way you will remove any remaining dirt, chemicals and other debris that have accumulated on the leaves during the growth of the plant or during the handling of the product if you have bought the basil in a store.
Dry the leaves with kitchen paper.
Spread the freshly rinsed leaves on a piece of kitchen paper and pat them dry using a second piece of paper. By removing excess moisture from the basil, you will prevent mold from forming during the drying process.
How To Dry Basil by Hanging
Gather the leaves into bundles.
Gather the prepared leaves into a bundle and tie them by the stems with a rubber band or a wire tie. Make more than one bunch if you have a lot of basil leaves.
Hang the leaves to dry.
Hang the basil bunches from a hook or nail on the wall to dry. You don’t have to hang them in the kitchen, but be sure to choose a place that is ventilated and where there is some sunlight to aid the drying process. Choose a place where there is a window that you can open to let in air and natural light. It is preferable that there are no bugs that can spoil the basil leaves.
Let the basil dry for two weeks.
The basil will be dry and ready to use in about two weeks or when the leaves are dry, have turned dark green and are brittle to the touch. If you notice that the leaves or stems still have some flexibility, leave them hanging to dry for another week.
- Remove the rubber band or wire tie, separate the dried leaves from the bunch, and crumble them with your fingers. Store the basil in a jar or other container with its corresponding lab.
Crush and save the dried basil to use in the curries.
Also Read: THE FIVE VEGETABLES TO GROW IN YOUR HOME
How To Use Quick Methods For Drying Basil
Separate the leaves from the stems once you’ve harvested them.
You can cut them away from the stems this process is quicker to dry them. Discard stems with damaged or broken leaves.
Dry them by patting in with kitchen paper.
Rinse the leaves with water and spread them out on kitchen paper to dry them carefully.
Set the oven to dehydrate food.
You can perfectly dry the basil leaves both in the oven at moderate temperature and in a food dehydrator.
- If you use the oven, set it to the lowest temperature (93.5 ºC maximum, which is equivalent to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit).
- If you use a food dehydrator, prepare it according to the instruction manual.
Spread the leaves in a thin layer on a tray.
Spread the leaves food dehydrator tray or on a baking sheet. Make sure the sheets don’t overlap each other; they should be arranged in a single thin, even layer.
Dry the leaves until dehydrated.
You should dry the leaves in one or two days, until they have lost all moisture; once dry they should be brittle when pinched with your fingers.
- If you are using the oven, place the sheet tray inside the preheated appliance and let them roast for 18 minutes. switch off the oven and leave the leaves inside overnight. In the morning they should be dry enough.
- If you’re using the food dehydrator, put the sheet tray inside the appliance, turn it on, and let them to dry for two.
Store the dry leaves.
You can store them whole in plastic food bags or other containers, or crush them and store them in spice jars.