Have you ever wanted to find out how the Italian dishes like pizza, pasta, salads get some different subtle popery, a minty flavor that is sweet but savory? Well, let us tell you that all this happens because of a culinary herb named basil.
So, if you need that flavor in your dishes, you have to preserve the basil leaves by drying them as it is an annual plant.
You will learn different methods of drying basil but before that, let’s see why basil is beneficial and some methods to grow and harvest basil.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a part of the mint family and there are several varieties that are found like holy basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, and the most popular and used is sweet basil. Basil is actually an annual herb that is cultivated only in summer.
It is not only the Italian dishes where basil is used, due to its unique flavor, many other cuisines like Thai, Vietnam, Indonesian cuisine where basil is being used. Along with the flavor, basil rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, etc. There are also antibacterial, anti-aging, and anti-stress properties in basil which makes it potential to threaten many health conditions of our body.
How to Grow and Harvest Basil
If you want to basil in your disease all around the year, it will be the best way if you plant and harvest basil in your background.
The first point you should remember that the basil plant needs warm weather and indirect sunlight. When the temperature goes down and winter comes, the plant will start to die. That’s why people dry basil and enjoy it the whole year.
Before drying basil, the leaves are deliberately accumulated to intercept swelling. Blemished leaves will in general turn dark or brown colored, and inappropriate taking care of can deliver the oil rashly from the leaves which eliminates its basic essential flavor. Leaves are best collected early in the day when the dew has vanished since abundance moisture causes shape development.
It is advised by the specialists that harvesting leaves before the plant blossoms when the leaves are rich and sprouting since the leaves before the plant’s conceptive state has the most elevated convergence of aromatic and sweet-smelling compounds liable for its extraordinary flavor.
Methods of Drying Basil
1. Air Drying
Let’s start with the most traditional and easiest way if drying basil.
First, you have to tie a bunch of basil leaves with a rubber band or any other strong strings. Then hang them in a warm and dry area and the area should be well ventilated and away from direct sunlight. The best temperature of air drying basil is 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 20 degrees Celsius).
It will approximately take 2 or 4 weeks to completely dry the basil. If all the leaves will not become completely moisture-free, there may be growing mold on the leaves and the procedure will be wasted.
So, you have to find out a proper place where you can efficiently complete the method and also remember, the place should be free from insects so that they can not chow your drying basils.
2. Microwave Drying
Using a microwave to dry basil is another simple but fastest way. This way helps to preserve the original flavor, the aroma, and the natural green color of basil.
In this method, you have to collect several good quality leaves and rinse them for removing dirt and impurities. Use a paper towel and pat them to remove excess moisture from them.
Now, taker the leaves in a paper towel or kitchen towel and place it at the top of the microwave-safe container. Switch on the microwave in the highest setting for 20 to 30 seconds and continue till the leaves become curl and dry. It will take 2 to 3 minutes to complete.
Here is a tutorial for your convenience.
Here is a tutorial for your convenience.
If you are living in a tropical climate area, sun drying will be the best way of drying basil.
In this method, you will be able to dry large amount of basil leaves. After collecting the leaves, put and spread them out in a dry mat or clean bed sheet. Then place them under the sun and check the weather condition before. Put some weight or rocks around the sheet and ensure the wind can not blow away the leaves. You need to move the sheet several times as leaves need the maximum amount of sunlight to dry. It is the most energy-efficient way to drying basil.
4. Using Oven
Using the oven to dry basil will take just several hours to show your desired result.
Take freshly harvested leaves and wash them properly to remove dirt and impurities. Place them in a cookie sheet or single layer of roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes in the temperature of 200 degrees. Don’t raise temperature much as it will cause a bitter taste of the leaves. After 20 minutes, switch off the heat and leave the pan in the oven for about 3 to 4 hours. Make sure to put a parchment paper or Silpat at when you are drying basil on a metal plate.
5. Food dehydrator
Using a food dehydrator is an efficient way to dry and preserve basil and other fruits and vegetables as well. It heats the air around the food in a circulating mode and ensures the complete drying. It works great to dry large amounts of basil leaves.
Collect the basil leaves and wash them off. Then place them in a single layer on the plate of a food dehydrator and turn it on at a lower temperature. It will take 4 to 6 hours to complete the drying process. Time will depend on the moisture content of the leaves.
How to store the dried Basil
In the upper section, you have learned the methods of drying basil. Now, you have to store these leaves in a proper way to enjoy the whole year.
It is the best way to preserve them in airtight containers and keep them away from lights. You can also crush the leaves and put them in small jars to easily sprinkle at the top of the dishes.
Chefs and food enthusiasts love the unique flavor and aroma of the basil and that is the reason they use dried basil to give the peppery and mint flavor in their special dishes. We showed you the simplest and easiest methods of drying basil efficiently to cherish the aroma of basil. Pick the one process which is convenient for you and suit the amount of basil you need to dry.