How to Dry Basil

Next to garlic, basil is hands-down my favorite herb. I use a lot of it in my cooking and try to grow as much of it each year in my garden as possible. This year, I have three different types of basil growing: Genovese, Purple, and Cinnamon Basil.

We've been cooking with fresh basil just about all summer, but I've just harvested my first big batch of basil to dry today. So, I'm ready to get drying!

I have a dehydrator and have dried basil and other herbs in the dehydrator before. I've also dried basil in the oven. But, when it comes to drying basil, the easiest way is to simply hang it upside down in a cool, dry place and just let it dry out slowly. It's easy and it doesn't require any fancy equipment. It's the way I prefer to dry basil.

Here's how I dry basil:

  1. Harvest the basil. Basil can be harvested anytime, but it's usually best to harvest in the morning after the dew has been dried away by the sun.
  2. Wash the basil and pat it dry.
  3. Do not remove the leaves from the stems.
  4. Gather the stems of basil together and secure together with a rubber band. If you look at my photo below, you'll see the rubber band holding the sprigs of basil together at the top. You can also use twist ties or string, but I find rubber bands to be the easiest thing to use.
  5. Hang the basil upside down in a cool, dry place until it completely dries out. I hang mine in a corner of our kitchen, but you can hang it anywhere as long as it will be kept clean and dry.
  6. It usually takes a few weeks for the basil to dry. When the basil has dried completely (it will be dark and crispy), remove the rubber band and run your fingers along the stems to remove the leaves from the stems.  You'll want to put something under the basil where you are working so that it is easy to gather when you're done. I usually cut open a large brown paper bag and lay it on the kitchen counter where I'll be working.
  7. Discard the stems and gather the dried leaves. You can crumble the leaves by hand or put them into a food processor and pulse a few times to get them crumbled nicely (and easily!). I usually use the food processor for this -- it makes the crumbles more uniform in size & makes quick work of it.
  8. Put the leaves into an air tight storage container. Be sure to label the container and don't forget to date it!
  9. Dried basil should keep for up to one year.

Easiest Way to Dry Basil

Aug 18 2013
Posted in: Herbs

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