Basil is a herb that adds an extra flavor to your meal. If you’d like to preserve fresh basil, you’ll learn how to dry basil leaves in this post. We’ll also share with you some tips for drying it, storing it, and preventing discoloration, with a bonus dried basil recipe.
What is the Best Way to Preserve Fresh Basil?
- Dry Basil Leaves: A common way to preserve basil is to dry your basil. After you have dried your basil, you’re going to need to preserve it for another day. To do this, remove the leaves from the stems, crush the dry basil leaves, crush them in a food processor or with a mortar and place in a ziplock bag. It’s important to put the bag in a glass container and store it in a dark, cool, dry place. Another option is to chop the leaves and place them in an ice cube tray with some water to freeze.
- Make the Pesto and Freeze it: Another way is to make basil into pesto. Then store it in an airtight container and place in the freezer. For a smaller amount, you can use ice cube trays. It will last for 6 month.
Why Do You Need to Dry Basil?
The simple reason for drying basil is because the leaves have a lot of moisture in them – drying them prevents them from molding. When you dry basil, you not only enhance preservation but allow the basil to keep its lemony to spicy-pepper flavor.
Is it Better to Dry or Freeze Basil?
The choice is truly yours here! You can dry it or freeze it! When you freeze basil, it will retain the fresh taste better! To do this, wash the basil in cold water, dry and pull the leaves from the stems. Use a food processor to coarsely chop washed basil leaves, store and freeze. To prevent basil from turning black when, add in a drizzle of olive oil. Freezing allows you to use the basil at a later time whereas drying your basil will need to be used right away.
Best Way to Dry Basil
1. How to Dry Basil in the Oven
To dry the basil in the oven, remove the leaves from the stems and then wash and dry completely. Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature, place the basil on parchment paper on a baking sheet and then place it on the upper rack of the oven. From there all you have to do is bake for about 2-4 hours or until the leaves are crumbly.
2. How to Dry Fresh Basil Leaves in the Microwave
To dry basil in the microwave, you will repeat the process of removing the leaves from the stems, wash and then dry well. Place the basil in a single layer between two pieces of paper towel and put in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds at medium power.
3. Drying Basil in a Dehydrator
Important again here is to wash and dry your basil – this gets rid of any excess dirt and worms. Dry with a paper towel and then lay them on a clean paper towel in a single layer to dry further. For the dehydrator, lay the basil on the rack leaving space in between them, from there it’s simply setting your dehydrator to the setting stated by the manufacturer for herbs.
4. How to Air Dry Basil
Yes, if you have time and prefer the natural process – you can air-dry basil! The way to do this is to wash the leaves, dry them and then tie them up on a string (like a clothesline) to dry. Be sure to hang them in a cool, dry place and keep in mind this will take up 5 weeks to fully air-dry.
How Do You Dry Basil Without It Turning Brown?
To prevent any browning on your basil, be sure to hang it in a dark room with low humidity. This is the easiest way to control and prevent any browning. When using any other method, you risk overdoing it and overcooking the basil which will cause browning.
How Do You Store Dried Basil?
The best way to store dried basil is in a glass container with a tight lid in a dark, cool, dry place in your pantry. It should remain crisp and flavorful for over a year if stored this way. Keep in mind that dried herbs will lose flavor over time, especially if there is any excess light.
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Dried Basil Recipe
- fresh basil leaves
- Wash the fresh basil leaves and remove them from the stem.
- Pat dry with paper towels.
- Line a plate with a paper towel. Then add basil leaves on top of the paper towel in one single layer.
- Cover with a nice paper towel.
- Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Microwave more and check every 30 seconds until the leaves are mostly dry.
- Continue to microwave at 10-second intervals until they are dry.
- Remove from the microwave and allow them to cool and become crisp. They will become crisper as they cool. You can use them as is or crumble them with your hands.