Friday, August 19, 2011

Adventures In Drying Garden Basil!

Hey everyone! I grow a six pack of basil every year and use it fresh, but decided that this year it would be fun to dry some for winter use.

Since I love my kitchen toys I thought I'd create a tutorial for using the dehydrator...
Yea, don't do that!
After 9 hours in the Philly humidity I still had limp, wet basil (it should take 1-3 hours). 
Ellen at A Season For All Things has the perfect method for drying basil in the microwave.

Pick basil in mid morning, when dew has dried off the leaves and before the heat of the afternoon sun. 
Give the stems a good couple shakes outside so you don't bring any unwanted hitchhikers into the house.
Hopefully you did a better job than I did in keeping the flowers trimmed off of your plants, 
they diminish the potency in the leaves.

Wash the leaves and place on towels to dry off. Do try to get them as dry as possible.

Place on a paper plate or paper towel and cover with another paper towel. 
Note: If I had a paper plate I would have used it, the Corelle got very hot, keep a pot holder handy.

Microwave for 30 second intervals until you see how long it takes for your basil to dry. 
Ellen's took about 1 1/2 minutes, mine took 2 1/2 minutes.
You'll know it's ready when you can easily crush it with your finger. Cool and store in an airtight container in a dark spot. I reused a jar that had basil in it from the store. The best thing about this is, you can harvest and dry however much is ready at that time.

Quick review:
Dehydrator = forever
Microwave = 2 1/2 minutes
Enjoy that killer batch of spaghetti sauce in February using your own garden grown basil:@)

Updated to say: I just dried my parsley using the mic and read that it's good for oregano too. You have to make sure you take the leaves off of the stems. The stems can burn and possibly burn the paper towel.
There's a write-up on microwave drying in Organic Gardening here.


  1. Drying herbs is on my "To Do" list for the weekend. I was planning to use the dehydrator but maybe not?!!!

    Thanks for the great post.

  2. What a great idea! Bet it's so much tastier than store bought.

  3. Great post with lots of good info. 2 1/2 minutes for your own dried basil, you can't beat that!

  4. Great tip! I have always wanted a dehydrator, but I DO have a microwave.

  5. Great tip Lynn, thanks and have a wonderful weekend!

  6. What a great idea. You could also ship some out here to me in Phoenix, it would become totally dehydrated sitting in my mailbox for about 5 minutes and I could just ship it back to you. I've never grown basil. You've got me thinking about it now.

  7. Thanks for doing this post. I have a lot of herbs that I am not using up and drying them before I loose them would be great. Guess I will be drying herbs this weekend:)

  8. Very interesting. A friend recently told me to freeze individual leaves of basil on a cookie sheet, then bag them up. She insists they taste just like fresh when you use them. I haven't tried it yet, but I will soon.


  9. I do grow basil but we do not have a microwave. Yes we are freaks. Maybe I can freeze it as Debbie suggested.

  10. Well now that's a great tip!

    Susan and Bentley

  11. How cool is this !!!
    xoxo bj

  12. Thanks for the helpful tutorial!

  13. Thanks for this awesome suggestion! My basil is about the only thing still kicking in the garden. : )

  14. Thanks for sharing! Good to know I can use the mic. I used to have a dehydrator but got rid of it when electric prices went sky high.
    Have a great weekend!

  15. i love putting things up for winter....

    happy to stop by today, my friend

    kary and teddy

  16. Thanks, Lynn, for this helpful hint! I will definitely stock up and dry a bunch. I didn't plant this year. I love your labels!! xo

  17. I wish I had enough basil to try this with. I barely had enough to use fresh. Next year...more, and I will definitely try the microwave method. Thanks, Lynn!


  18. This really is a great idea. You given us enough options that I have no excuse for not giving this a try. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  19. Lynn... thanks for the "shout out!" I thought dehydrators did everything.. guess not! Thanks for the heads up on the stems of the parsley/oregano.

    I'm your newest follower and can't wait to read through and try your recipes. ~ Ellen

  20. How wonderful to be able to use fresh basil! Love it.

  21. What a great, fun & easy idea!!

  22. It was hard for me to watch that perfect, fresh basil dry up! But I know that come winter it will be so welcome...

    Blessings, Debbie

  23. How wonderful to have this to use throughout the whole year and basil and spices are so expensive to buy.

  24. Thanks for the great idea, Lynn! I'm going to try the microwave method before the darned Japanese Beetles eat all my basil.

  25. Add me to the list of those 'been meaning to get around to trying this'. Growing, drying herbs seems like such a simple thing. Why is it so complicated? Congrats on getting it done.

  26. This is a great info! Will try to dry some of my basil leaves soon. Thank you! Have a lovely weekend!

  27. I didn't know this could be done! I will be sure to use a plate that can stand the micro...DH cracked one of our dinner plates by leaving it in for 2 mins. while he made his own breakfast. The ONE DAY I had to leave early!!! :/

  28. Yup, dehydrator + humidity= a big electrical waste of time. We have done the quick dry in the microwave as well. Generally we just let the herbs dry on the truck dashboard but, at times we don't have the time and do the microwave.

  29. Great idea, Lynn! I'll bet your kitchen smelled wonderful while you were drying the basil.

  30. Lynn,
    I haven't tried drying any of my homegrown may have just inspired me to try! I do love the taste of fresh basil. I use some dried basil, but don't feel the store bought is nearly as good as the fresh. Thanks for the instructions on this favorite herb of mine "how~to"!

  31. Hi Lynn,
    Great post on preserving herbs! Just stopping by from OTMM, thanks for sharing!
    Miz Helen

  32. Lynn, This is such a helpful post! Dried herbs are so expensive and what a great use of overabundant fresh herbs.
    It is so GREAT to know that we can dry herbs ourselves!
    Thanks for joining me for ON THE MENU MONDAY.

  33. I had no idea that it was so easy to dry basil leaves! I will definitely be doing soon as I plant some new basil for Summer!

    Hope your week is fabulous Lynn!

    Best wishes,

  34. I just wanted to say thank you again for sharing this very valuable tip on drying and preserving our precious basil leaves . . . over on Fresh Food Friday. I am glad that you are pleased that it was featured and I hope that you will continue to stop by again and again with your culinary and gardening talent tips and recipes!

  35. I just wanted to say thank you again for sharing this very valuable tip on drying and preserving our precious basil leaves . . . over on Fresh Food Friday. I am glad that you are pleased that it was featured and I hope that you will continue to stop by again and again with your culinary and gardening talent tips and recipes!

  36. By way of Foodie Friday and seeing basil oil today I followed the crumbs to learn how to dry basil in the microwave. How clever. I would have never, ever thought of this. I am not a microwave person and never have been. I have one to reheat coffee mainly and because every kitchen should have one. Finally you've come up with a really good food reason to own a microwave. Bless you.

  37. I missed this, came over from Rett's link.
    I didn't grow any this year, so I think I will buy or beg some from my friend who grew it and make the infused oil.
    Love your kitchen toy!
    So how does the dried taste, better than the store bought?

  38. thats awesome, now when I get more I know how to do it, thanks for sharing!!!


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