Simple Ways to Dry Basil: Natural, Oven, Microwave, Dehydrator

Basil is a renowned culinary herb that gives dishes a sweet and savory taste when dried. Several methods can be used to dry out basil leaves to preserve their life and flavor.

Method 1: How to Dry Basil Leaves Naturally

Although this method of drying basil is environmentally-friendly, it can take up to 4 weeks to get the results. Follow these steps to dry basil naturally:

  • Start by harvesting individual basil stems from the plant. This should give you at least 4 basil leaves for each stem.
  • Take 3 to 5 basil stems and tie them together using a rubber band. 
  • Hang the bunches in areas with room temperature and moderate light. Don’t place it in direct sunlight.
  • Allow the basils to dry naturally until you get crispy leaves that are easy to crumble.

Method 2: How to Dry Basil in the Oven

You can dry fresh basil leaves in the oven, provided you air-dry them first for several days. Here is how:

Harvest and Wash the Basil Leaves

To get fresh leaves from a basil plant, you will need a sharp knife or scissors. Cut the leaves just above the leaf node to promote new plant growth. Then wash in cool water and allow them to air-dry for several days. However, this step is not necessary for basil leaves purchased from the store.

Preheat Oven

Next, preheat your oven to 170 degrees F (or the lowest temperature setting). Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the basil leaves. Put the baking tray in the preheated oven.

Bake Basil Leaves

Allow your basil leaves to bake in the oven for about 1.5 to 2 hours. After about an hour, keep checking on the leaves every 10 minutes. The leaves are ready if they have a dark green color and crumble with ease between your fingers.

Store the Basil

You can store your basil as ground or as full leaves. When stored properly in an airtight container, it can last for up to 2-3 years.

Method 3: Use a Dehydrator

A dehydrator is an electronic device that gets rid of moisture from fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats using a fan. While it takes longer than an oven, the dehydration method is more energy-efficient and lowers the risk of burning your basil leaves.

Follow these steps to dry basil leaves in a dehydrator:

  • Place your basil leaves in the appliance.
  • Set it to the lowest setting, which is usually 95 degrees F. You can also use the herb setting option.
  • Dehydrate until when the leaves are crisp and crumble easily. Depending on the moisture content, this can take approximately 12 to 24 hours. 

Method 4: How to Microwave Basil Leaves

If you are looking for a quick and convenient way to dry basil leaves, microwaving should suffice. However, this is not the most ideal method because of the increased risks of burning. Here is how to:

  • Air dry fresh basil leaves and place them between two paper towels and spread them on a single layer. 
  • Then place in a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds using medium power.
  • Allow the leaves to rest for about 30 seconds before checking if they are crisp. If not, microwave them further for 10 seconds increments but ensure that they don’t get burnt. 

Uses of Dried Basil Leaves

Dried basil leaves have a strong flavor compared to fresh leaves. Hence, they can be used to make tasty dishes like pasta dishes, soups, vegetables, and more. They can also be added to dried herbs like rosemary and oregano to make them savorier.

Brenda Klaus

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