Basil leaves are used for spice, essence oil, tea, and much more. Many uses require the leaves to be dried first.
Read on below to learn exactly how to dry basil leaves with these six quick and easy methods!
How To Dry Basil Naturally
Drying basil naturally is something humans have been perfecting for centuries.
In modern times, basil has seen a marked increase in popularity due to increased attention to international cuisine during the 19th and 20th centuries.
That means people are coming up with more creative ways to grow, harvest, and yes, dry basil than ever before.
In the following sections, we discuss six of the most efficient (and easy) ways to dry your basil naturally:
How To Dry Basil by Hanging
Hanging basil in the open air, out of the elements, is the most basic (and common) way to dry basil naturally.
Here are the steps:
1. Wash the Basil
Without removing the leaves from the stems, place your basil leaves in a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cool water.
2. Towel Dry the Basil
Dump the basilonto a flat surface and pat the damp herb dry with a towel.
3. Tie the Basil Up into Bundles
Place the basil into stacks, and tie a string (or rubber band) around the bottom of their stems, essentially creating basil bundles.
4. Hang the Bundles of Basil
Tie a string to the end of the bundles, and suspend them in the air somewhere out of direct light and exposure to rain or other forms of moisture.
How To Dry Basil in the Sun
Setting fresh basil out in the sun to dry is likely the only oldest and most proven way to naturally dry basil than any other method on our list.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Collect the Basil and Wash It
Gather your basil harvest, wash it off, and dry it with a towel.
2. Remove Leaves From the Stems
Carefully snip the leaves from the stems, and place them somewhere to continue air drying a bit while you work.
3. On a Mesh Screen or Drying Mat, Spread Out the Basil Leaves
Once you have cleaned all of the plants of their leaves, place the basil on drying mats or screens, spaced out evenly. Avoid thick layers.
4. Move the Drying Mat or Screen Out of the Elements
Leave the basil out to dry in the sun for several days to a couple of weeks, but make sure to move it inside if it rains or gets windy outside. Also, move the basil under shelter at night to prevent dew from interfering with the drying process.
How To Dry Basil Leaves in Oven
Drying basil leaves in the oven is so easy, it’s really no wonder that more and more people are doing it.
Follow these steps to dry basil in your oven:
1. Preheat the Oven to Approximately 175℉
Turn your oven on, and crank the heat up to at least 175℉.
2. Wash Basil and Remove Leaves
While the oven is warming up, take the time to carefully clean your basil plants, removing the leaves and throwing out anything that isn’t fully green and healthy. Carefully pat dry with a clean towel.
3. Place the Basil on a Cookie Sheet in the Oven for 1 to 4 hours Until Crisp
Arrange the basil on cookie sheets, and stick them into the now-heated oven. Leave them to dry for 1 to 4 hours, checking on them every 15 to 30 minutes. When all leaves are completely dry and crispy, transfer them to Ziploc bags.
How To Dry Basil Leaves in Microwave
If you feel like the oven is too much of a hassle or are afraid of overcooking the basil, why not consider this method? Plenty of gardeners are turning to their microwaves to quickly and efficiently dry their fresh basil at the end of the growing season.
Here’s how to use your microwave to dry your basil leaves:
1. Collect and Clean Basil Leaves
Pick your basil, and clean the leaves from the stems and stalk. Rinse them for a couple of minutes under cool clean water and pat dry.
2. Prepare a Clean Plate With a Paper Towel
Grab a plate from the cupboard, and place a paper towel on it.
3. Place a Layer of Leaves on the Plate and Cover It With a Paper Towel
Layer basil onto the paper towel on the plate, and then place a second paper towel over the top of the basil leaves.
4. Set the Microwave to Medium-High and Run It for 30 Seconds
Punch in 30 seconds on the microwave’s timer, make sure it is set on medium or high, and hit start to run it.
5. Repeat Two to Three Times and Leave Out To Dry More
When the first 30-second runtime is over, open the microwave door, and let the steam out for a minute before repeating the process. Repeat the process a total of three or four times (or until dried).
How To Dry Basil in Dehydrator
Using a dehydrator to dry your basil is one of the newer-fangled ways of doing things today.
Here’s how you can dehydrate your basil:
1. Thoroughly Clean the Basil Leaves
Clean your basil leaves as you would for any other sort of drying method, rinsing them with water and then patting them dry with towels.
2. Allow To Air Dry for a Few Minutes
Set your basil leaves out to continue drying from their rinse for a few minutes.
3. Place Basil Leaves in Dehydrator on Trays
When your basil is mostly dry, go ahead and place it on the dehydrator trays. Avoid overly thick layers of herb. Stick the trays with basil into the dehydrator, and place the top on the unit.
4. Set the Temperature to 95℉ and Leave for Two Days
Turn the temperature dial up to 95℉ and run the dehydrator for at least two days. If it isn’t completely dried by then, allow it another 24 to 48 hours to air dry.
How To Dry Basil Leaves in Air Fryer
Believe it or not, an air fryer is also a viable option for drying your basil leaves.
Here is the way to use an air fryer to do so:
1. Wash and Dry Basil Leaves
Begin by washing up your basil leaves in cool clean water. Pat the leaves dry or leave them to dry in the air for a few hours.
2. Set the Air Fryer to 350℉
Crank the temperature of the machine up to at least 350℉ and allow it to preheat.
3. Place the Leaves in the Air Fryer Basket for 3 or 4 Minutes
Place handfuls of basil leaves in the basket(s) and stick them in the air fryer. Use a 3-minute to 4-minute timer to avoid cooking them into dust.
Dried Basil Uses
The number of uses for dried basil is genuinely astronomical. A few of the most common things to do with dried basil include:
- Adding into BBQ rub
- Adding into a spice mix
- Using for basic kitchen seasoning
- Using for tea
- Infusing cooking oil
- One of the main ingredients in pizza sauce (besides tomatoes)
- Meat seasoning
- Fish seasoning
- Adding to lentils and chickpeas
- Adding to soup
- Adding to pasta
- Adding to rice dishes
- Making pesto
Drying basil naturally is quick and easy, and thanks to modern technologies like ovens, microwaves, and dehydrators, drying your basil is even more effortless than ever before.
Dried basil is a diverse spice and kitchen helper, to say the absolute least. With all of the great ways to easily dry it out listed above, you should have no problem turning your fresh basil into a high-grade dried herb!
From being a staple ingredient in culinary arts today to being a major component in many essential oils, aroma therapy candles, and more, basil is without question one of the most versatile and highly used herbs on the planet.