Basil is one of the most versatile herbs and can give great yields in sunny summer weather. The leaves of the plant are the main component of the tasty pesto sauce and are used fresh in salads, sandwiches, and many other recipes.
The fresh leaves are used throughout the growing season, but the plant will die as soon as temperatures begin to cool. Drying the basil is an easy way to store the delicious leaves and give it that summer flavor even in winter.
How to dry fresh basil
Dried basil has a more intense flavor when fresh but breaks down quickly. Dried herbs are generally three to four times stronger than fresh herbs. The leaves are high in moisture content and need to dry quickly to avoid mold.
The air has to circulate freely on both sides of the sheet so that it dries faster. Drying fresh basil is an easy way to preserve the flavor of the herb from lemon and anise to spicy.
step in how to dry fresh basil is harvest. Herbs that are harvested for drying should be harvested in the morning just after the dew has air dried the leaves. Cut the herbs off the plant before it gets too hot. Remove stems ¼ cm above a growth node.
This will allow more sheets to rinse at the cut point. Harvest more than you would use when drying the basil because the leaves will shrink in size by more than half.
There are two quick and effective ways to dry basil. You can cut the stems about 6 cm long and tie them into small bundles so that they hang dry. Place a paper bag around the bunches, which has holes in them.
Hang the basil to dry in a dimly lit room or in a dark room with low humidity and warm temperatures. The bag will catch the dried pieces of the leaves when they fall off.
You can also dry the basil in a food dehydrator. Lay each sheet in a single layer on the shelves and allow it to dry in the machine until completely crisp.
A super quick method of drying basil is using the microwave. Take care to avoid burning herbs. Lay the leaves in a single layer on paper towels and microwave them on low for up to 3 minutes. Check them every minute and remove any that are dry to avoid burning.
Storing dried basil leaves
Dried herbs will lose flavor over time, and excess light increases this process. It is best to store them in a dark cupboard or pantry where light cannot penetrate. The storage container must be dry and airtight.
Remove the stems and flowers if they dried with the leaves. Crumble the leaves in the containers so they are ready to be used in recipes.