7 Ways to Dry Basil at Home with Ease

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Quick Answer: How to Dry Basil at Home

The best methods to dry basil leaves are – sun-drying, using an oven, microwaving, dehydrator or an air fryer. Sun drying is best for people residing in regions that have a tropical climate. If you wish to dry Basil leaves in a short timeframe, use a microwave instead of an air fryer or an oven.

Basil, a versatile herb, is one of the most common ingredients in foods like sandwiches, salads, and various other recipes. However, it ends up dying as soon as temperatures drop.

Drying basil leaves is one of the easiest ways to provide you with taste during cold weather.

But there are so many ways to do so, which is the best? Don’t worry; we have put hours of research and experience to develop five easy ways for drying Basil.

How to Dry Basil Using Air Drying

Time needed: 30 days.

Air drying may be the most popular and traditional method of drying herbs.

If you’re looking for an easy way to dry your basil leaves, air-drying them should be your top preference. A plus point? This method is quite eco-friendly.

Optimum temperature to air dry the herb: Anywhere between 15 – 20 degrees Celsius

  1. What you’ll need?

    1. A twist tie
    2. A sturdy string
    3. Paper bags

  2. Wash the Basil Leaves

    Submerge them in a tub of water. In case any tiny bugs pop, you will be able to flush them out by washing the leaves.

  3. Gathering the Basil Sprigs Together

    Strain leaves and divide them into bunches. Take a bunch of fresh Basil sprigs and tie them together. The knot should be a double knot or a triple knot.

  4. Place them in Paper Bags

    These bags should have many holes in them. Direct contact with sunlight can turn them black, and the holes would enable air circulation.

  5. Placing them to Air Dry

    You don’t need any complicated setup to air dry Basil leaves. Take two chairs, place a plank on top of them, and knot your Basil bunches on it. Watch how Jag ties the knots to keep your sprigs intact.

    Hanging the Basil leaves in such a manner aerates them and enables them to dry faster. If you’re thinking of just placing them on a surface since it’s simpler, doing so will cause dam press and create molds.

    By hanging them, you’ll be able to keep your Basil leaves away from any pests.

    This would be difficult if you chose to air dry them by placing them on a surface. You’d have to keep an eye out for any insects constantly.

Dry Basil Using a Microwave

Time taken: 30 seconds – 1 minute

Optimum temperature to microwave the herb: About 35 degrees Celsius.

What you’ll need?

  • Paper towels
  • Salad spinner/small towels
  • A flat-surfaced utensil

 

If you have limited sunlight, you can dry Basil leaves using your microwave. It’s the speediest method which removes excess moisture from the leaves within a short time frame.

Wash the Herb

Rinse Basil under lukewarm water and separate the leaves from the stems. Warm water helps kill any kinds of insects and keep the leaves clean.

Dry the Leaves

Use a small towel or a salad spinner to dry the leaves. The less moisture on the leaves, the lesser chances there are for brown spots to grow.

Place them on Paper Towels

Carefully place the dry leaves in between two paper towels. Ensure you don’t put the leaves on top of each other because that will increase the chances of molds growing on them.

Keep them in the Microwave

You can either place the paper towels in the microwave directly or keep them on a flat-surfaced utensil and then slide it in.

Place the paper towels on the utensil because they’ll absorb the moisture. It will also be easier to take the paper towels out of the microwave if you keep them in a utensil.

Check Whether the Leaves have Dried

This step is crucial, and it’s more of a sensory thing. You’ll have to check the leaves constantly based on how they smell.

You can even open the microwave every 20 seconds to see if they’re brittle and dry.

Check how damp the paper towels are. Damp paper towels means the leaves are beginning to lose moisture. Replace them with dry paper towels accordingly.

You can watch Cali do this in action here:


Dry Basil Using Sun Drying

Time taken: 1-4 days

What you’ll need?

  • A wire-mesh screen
  • A clean sheet/drying mat
  • Some rocks

 

Sun-drying Basil is quite convenient for people who reside in tropical regions. With this method, you’ll be able to dry Basil leaves during the summers in bulk quantities.

Wash the Leaves

Separate the Basil leaves from the stems and rinse them under warm water. Look out for any insects because herbs usually have tiny ones crawling about.

Place them in the Sun

Take your drying mat or any other substitute and lay it flat on the ground under complete sunlight. Place your leaves on top of the mat and spread them evenly across.

It’s essential that every basil leaf receives equal sunlight. Place some rocks at the end of each side of the mat to ensure that it doesn’t fold or flies away.

While using this method, you need to make sure the temperature won’t drop at night, and there are fewer chances of wind. If there is wind, refrain from keeping your leaves since they might fly away.

You will also need to shift the mat many times during the day to places with maximum sunlight. This is to help dry the leaves faster rather than leaving them at one place overnight or for several days.

Dry Basil Using an Oven

Time taken: A few hours – one day

Optimum temperature to heat the herb in an oven: 180-200 degree Celsius

What you’ll need?

  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet/roasting pan
  • A metal tray

 

Using an oven to dry Basil is quite simple and only consumes several hours before you get those brittle, dry leaves that can be used anytime. Take a little precaution while drying Basil in an oven to avoid getting burnt.

Wash the Basil Leaves

Gather some Basil and soak it in lukewarm water for a few minutes. This helps prevent any bugs or tiny insects from coming onto the herb.

Then, dry the herb to get rid of any moisture coming onto the leaves.

Place the Leaves in the Oven

Take a metal tray and place your parchment paper or any proper substitute on top of the tray. This is important as direct contact with metal will darken the leaves.

Carefully place your leaves, leaving some distance between each of them. Jay doesn’t mind letting his leaves overlap one another when using an oven to dry them:

 

Set the oven from between 180- 200 degrees Celcius and let your leaves remain for around 20 minutes. Switch the oven off and let the leaves cool down for about 3-4 hours.

You need to ensure the temperature is not set too high. The result may add a slightly bitter taste to your leaves if not appropriately heated.

Dry Basil Using a Food Dehydrator

Time taken: 4-7 hours

Optimum temperature to dry the Basil in a food dehydrator: 35 degrees Celsius.

What you’ll need?

  • Small towels
  • Dehydrator trays

 

Food dehydrators are equipment used to supply even heat to all sides. Their temperature is set lower than an oven which enables you to preserve more natural flavour of your Basil leaves.

Clean the Basil

Rinse the Basil under lukewarm water to get rid of any insects or bugs lurking around.

Then, separate the leaves from the stems and lay the leaves on a dry towel. Let them air dry for a few hours to ensure the flavour remains even after washing the leaves.

Keep the Leaves in the Food Dehydrator

Take your dehydrator tray and place all your leaves evenly across the tray. Make sure to keep some distance between each leaf to ensure air circulates through all of them.

Slide the tray into the dehydrator and set the temperature to 35 degrees Celsius. Refer to your manual and if there’s a lower temperature, set the dehydrator to that.

Check your Leaves

Crush the leaves in your hand to check if they’re completely dry and crisp. In case they’re wrinkled, pop them back in for another half an hour or so as they haven’t dried yet.

If the humidity in your house is low, then it will take around 7 hours. It might take a day to dry your Basil leaves if the situation is vice versa.

Dry Basil in your kitchen

Time taken: 1-2 days

Optimum temperature to dry Basil: room temperature.

What you’ll need?

  • Paper towels
  • Standard towels

 

If you’re someone who doesn’t prefer using electronics much, dry your Basil leaves in your kitchen. This is a natural indoor solution that doesn’t depend on the weather as well.

Wash your Leaves

Separate the leaves from the stems and rinse your Basil leaves in lukewarm water. You can either apply some vinegar and place them in a tub for a few hours.

Running short on time? Wash them with your hands directly instead.

Place them to Dry

Dry your Basil leaves using normal towels and then place them onto some paper towels. Keep the towels with the leaves on a clean platform.

Ensure they’re away from any direct sunlight and out of the reach of children too.

Check your Basil Leaves

This needs to be done every few hours so that you can switch the paper towels if they get damp. As mentioned earlier, the leaves should be kept away from water or moisture to prevent moulds from forming.

Dry Basil Using an Air Fryer

Time taken: 3 minutes

Optimum temperature to air fry Basil: 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

What you’ll need?

  • Paper towels
  • Rack
  • Salad spinner

 

Air frying your Basil leaves may be the simplest and fastest method to dry Basil. It only takes about 3 minutes for your leaves to become dry and crispy.

This procedure is convenient for a single large bunch.

Getting ready to Air Fry

Preheat your air fryer by keeping it at 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash your Basil

Rinse and dry your Basil leaves using a salad spinner. Then separate the leaves from the stems and place them on a paper towel to remove excess moisture that may remain.

Air Frying the Leaves

Place them into the Air dryer’s basket and cover the basket with a rack. This is to ensure the leaves don’t fly away because of the air.

Evenly Circulate the Air

Let the fryer work for about 3 minutes. After every minute, shake the basket to make sure the air is evenly circulated.

Check your Basil Leaves

Take the leaves out of the fryer. Transfer the dried leaves onto a plate and let them cool down before you check if they are perfectly dry and crisp.

The Right Way to Process Basil Before you Store it

You can either pour the dried leaves into a zip lock bag and then mash it, or use a mortar and pestle instead. Regardless of the equipment, you need to ensure the leaves are dehydrated before you store them.

Once you’ve finished processing the dried herb, store it in a glass container with an air-tight lid. Keep the container in your pantry or a cool and dark area.

Shop Bought Dried Basil vs. Basil you’ve Dried Yourself

When comparing store-bought to homemade dried Basil, there are apparent differences that set these two aside. Store-bought dried Basil is relatively duller in color.

It’s aroma fades faster comparatively. Homemade dried Basil provides flavor for almost a year with its crunchiness.

You can’t tell how long the store dried the herb for or when they dried it. However, when you dry your Basil at home, you know when you’ve done it and for how long will it stay fresh.

Our Take on Which Method is Best

Sun drying is best for people residing in regions which have a tropical climate. This method and the food dehydrator process is best for drying Basil leaves in bulk for mass storage.

If you wish to dry Basil leaves in a short timeframe, use a microwave instead of an air fryer or an oven.

In case you have a power cut due to bad weather, you can dry your Basil leaves in your kitchen.

FAQs

How to cut and clean basil leaves before drying them?

Cut above the bottom two sets of leaves. Wash the stems and leaves together by gently swishing them in a bowl of running water.

Get rid of any bruised leaves before separating the fresh ones from the stems completely.

How do you know if your Basil is dried properly?

Properly dried Basil will be smaller than the original size and look light olive green in colour.

The leaves will easily get crushed in your palms, and you’ll be able to hear a sound similar to rustling leaves. If they wrinkle instead, it means they aren’t completely dried.

How long before dried Basil leaves start losing their aroma and flavour?

Properly stored dry Basil leaves last for a minimum of 12 months before the herb starts losing its flavour and aroma.

If Basil is held in its natural form without separating the leaves from the stems, it’ll last from 3-4 years.

Bottom Line

We have discussed seven easy methods to dry Basil leaves for different instances. We hope this guide made you familiar with how you can personally dry herbs like Basil at home.

Share this article with your friends and family if you found it useful, and feel free to share any queries in the comments section below.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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