How To Harvest and Dry Basil

How To Harvest and Dry Basil. Basil is a great herb to grow that can be harvested throughout the summer growing season. Here are step by step instructions to harvesting, and drying, basil.




How To Harvest and Dry Basil

Basil is a great herb to grow that can be harvested throughout the summer growing season. Here are step by step instructions to harvesting, and drying, basil.

After an inauspicious beginning, my basil started to take off and really grow! Basil is an excellent herb to use in pasta, tomato and salad dishes. Sonny-boy grabbed some for pesto, and Hubby used fresh in a zucchini stuffed zucchini recipe that was absolutely delicious. While I have clipped any flowering action at the top of each leave-area that began when the basil started to bolt, I knew I wanted to allow my plants to grow so I would have a healthy harvest to dry all at once.

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


How To Harvest and Dry Basil


How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• I went out to gather a large quantity of basil one day a few weeks ago.
• I bent back the stems to look for a tri-area to clip just above.
• If there were new leaves started on the shoots, so much the better.
• I clipped as close to the bottom of that tri as possible (closer than the pic! Clipping and photographing when you are too lazy to set up a tripod isn’t a lot of fun.)

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• I gathered a good quantity of fresh basil.

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• Wash your basil thoroughly.
• Remove the stems, and wash again. You want to make sure all the dirt and any bugs are removed.
• I spin mine in a salad spinner to remove excess water and for faster drying.

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• I have two convection ovens with a drying setting, and that is what these drying instructions are for:
• After spinning to dry, I laid out on some racks and preheated my ovens to the dry setting of 125°.
• That is parchement paper on those racks. Some have suggested using it to keep the color of the basil true. I honestly haven’t seen a big difference between direct metal and parchment paper on drying basil. I did larger leaves directly on metal sheets this round to compare (I had 6 sheets in all, 3 trays per oven).

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• Basil takes a while to dry depending on how large your leaves are: 3-6 hours.
• You know your basil is dry when you can crumble it between your fingers.

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• When your basil is dry, you can crumble between your fingers to crush the entire amount, or use a mortar and pestle.
• Pick out any leaves that do not crumble readily, and continue to dry them. You don’t want to store half-damp leaves.

How To Harvest and Dry Basil


• Hubby insisted we use a food saver jar for this batch. I agreed, and he removed the air with his foodsaver to keep the basil dry.
• Store in your cupboard or freezer.

I expect to do this several more times before the gardening season is over. I have four surviving, and flourishing plants, and that will give is more than enough basil for the year.


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Comments

  1. I didn’t know about cutting it at the tri-. Maybe that’s why mine isn’t growing in abundance like yours. I get basil, but not nearly enough. We love it too.

    • Gail, I have found that basil responds to pinching and pruning by growing more vigorously. So if one of your plants seems to be tall and scrawny looking, try ‘tipping’ it and see if it starts get bushier. Especially if you see bloom/buds forming. Get rid of these early buds . Good luck!
      Ann, I love basil-but NEVER dry it. I freeze mine (Both in oil and dry leaf). IMO, it keeps it’s fresh flavor better and the texture is far superior to dry. (besides I can get dry basil cheaply at any grocer) Glad your plants are finally producing for you. 🙂

      • I think Hubby would love for me to freeze the basil, Barbee. Considering I freeze everything and anything, the fact that I won’t freeze basil probably baffles him. (And probably you too! I don’t like basil much (so I’m odd), and he’ll use full leaves.. blech)

        Ann

    • The tri-cut right above the new growth will allow the stems to come back, Gail. The pinching (as Barbee posted) will give you fuller stems. I pluck those flowers that start to bolt asap, although I don’t pinch otherwise.

  2. I grow a very small amount of basil and wondered if it should be washed before drying. Thanks for your post, it cleared up several questions I have had. Your basil looks great.

    just cut all I had and made some fresh pesto.
    Have a great weekend
    Karren

  3. After two years of our basil plants doing terribly, I’m over run this year with basil. I planted two plants and they are huge. I need to dry some myself.

  4. I dry my parsley, mint and basil etc.. in the microwave.. only takes five minutes or so, and the colour doesn’t fade..

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