Nearly everybody loves good Italian food, right?
Basil is a green herb originally from India and other tropical regions, with a sweet smell and a peppery taste, essential in the Italian food and the famous Pesto.
Because of its flavor, the herb is global now and can be found virtually everywhere. Jewish folklore considers that the herb adds strength to the body while fasting while the French call it “the royal herb”.The green basil, known as the “sweet basil”, is the most common but there are at least sixty varieties of basil, some being red or even purple.
Basil is an easy herb to deal with and to grow at your home, it’s getting pretty popular on kitchen gardens. If you like to experiment in the kitchen to find new flavors, you can play these options that compliment basil in a whole new world of flavor: Spinach, Broccoli, Avocado and Tuna!
Homegrown basil will be much cheaper and better tasting than the herbs you will find at the grocery store, so it’s a win-win situation!
The process of drying basil is not so tricky but it can be done with multiple methods, we are going to go through the main ways, so you can understand a little more and choose what sounds best to you. The biggest challenge will always be to get rid of the moisture without burning the leaves in the process. The secret is to wash and blot before the drying stage.
Drying Basil in the Oven
Start washing the basil in cool water and spreading it on a towel do dry.
Preheat the oven in the lowest setting possible (around 150 degrees).
Place the leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet, removing the ones with brown spots. Make sure the leaves are spread out and are not overlapping because we don’t want to steamed basil.
Place the leaves in the oven for approximately one and a half-hour. It will be ready it’s dry to the touch.
Let the basil cool on the sheet and then crumble it with your fingers and store it into a jar.
Hang the Leaves to Dry
Group the leaves and tie them with a rubber band at their stems.
Choose a place with circulating air and moderate sunlight.
Let it hang for 2 weeks
Crumble the dry leaves with your fingers and store them in a jar.
Drying Basil in the Food Dehydrator
This one might be the easiest way to have it done, start the dehydrator at 95 degrees or use the “herb” option.
Check every 4 hours, this process can take from 12 to 24 hours depending on the humidity of the leaves.
You will notice when they are ready and starting to crumble with the touch.
Drying Basil in the Microwave
Let’s get to the quickest way if you are in a hurry for dry basil! We advise against this method if you are looking for quality and flavor, the microwave breaks down the oil ruining the flavor.
If you still want to do it in the microwave, you should place the leaves on a plate and set the microwave for 30 seconds, turn the leaves over and set for 30 more seconds turning the leaves until they are crumbling.
You also air-dry basil and it’s not so complicated, let see how you can do it:
Separate the leaves and group them with a rubber band.
Cover the leaves with a paper bag with holes to let the air circulate.
Place the bags on any shaded part of your house with air circulation, the process may take up to two weeks.
Now that you choose the best method for drying basil, it’s the second and most important part, the process of storing it so it lasts longer without losing flavor. Always put your dry basil on an airtight container and away from light.
Dried basil leaves can keep their flavor from a long period of time, up to one year they will still be good for usage but start losing flavor.
For teas, you should keep the leaves intact, crushing them would release the oil and lose their aroma, which is important for drinks in general.