Cold-sensitive basil will not produce a fresh harvest outdoors during the winter. If you want your basil to keep its aromatic scent all year round, it is dried in good time. We present the different methods in detail here.
Harvest at the right time and prune skillfully
The timing of the harvest needs to be chosen carefully. If the royal herb is too young, only a little aroma has developed. On the other hand, as soon as it blooms, the herbal plant takes on a bitter taste. Therefore, set a date just before flowering in the early morning hours. How to do it right:
- harvest the branches whole, leaving a pair of leaves
- the plant will sprout again from at least 2 remaining eyes
- Use scissors to cut off the individual leaves along with the petiole
Before you tackle the actual drying, rinse the basil leaves thoroughly under running water.
Easy and free – Air dry basil
Dab the washed basil dry with a kitchen towel to prevent mold from forming. Then tie the leaves together by their stems into several small bundles. Rubber bands, raffia bands, or binding wire are well suited.
Hang the bouquets with hooks on the wall or ceiling in an airy place. When dried, royal cabbage takes on a dark green color.
In the course of two weeks, the leaves have dried so much that they rustle. The binding material is now removed. Use your fingers to crumble the royal herb and store it in a sealable, labeled container.
Drying Basil in the oven
If air drying takes too long, you can quickly convert your oven into a drying machine. The prepared basil leaves are distributed on the baking sheet. At a temperature of 50 degrees (122F), they are dry when the leaves no longer feel pliable and instead break.
The process is a little quicker if you use the air recirculation function. It is important to note that the oven door is always slightly open.
Dry properly in the dehydrator
Dehydrators are specially designed to preserve fruit and herbs. For this purpose, they are equipped with several sieve trays and a small circulating air heater. Here’s how to tackle the uncomplicated procedure:
- Distribute the washed basil on the sieve trays
- do not stack the sheets
- close the device and set it to 30 to 60 degrees Celsius (86-140 F)
At low temperatures, the process takes longer time; nevertheless, an optimal aroma is retained in this way when the royal herb has dried.
Basil will dry in minutes in the microwave. However, this rapid speed comes at the expense of taste. Even at the lowest wattage, most of the essential oils that are responsible for the incomparable basil aroma evaporate.