You can’t just eat tomato mozzarella or pizza without fresh basil leaves because this herb provides the Italian moments in the kitchen with its unique aroma. However, to ensure that the taste is not lost when washing, consider a few things.
clean the basil
Prepare the herbs as follows:
- Cut off the leaves with the stem.
- Rinse briefly but thoroughly under running water.
- Pick off individual leaves by hand.
- Gently pat dry with paper towels.
Then cut the leaves into fine strips with a very sharp knife. For pesto, you can now put the leaves directly into the electric multi-chopper.
Wash and dry the basil for the spiced stock
Harvest basil that you want to dry only when the leaves are strong and no longer too soft because the essential oil content is highest just before flowering.
Late morning on a dry day when the dew has dried is ideal. If the sun is already very high at midday, it is too late for the harvest, as the essential oils of the basil evaporate quickly due to the strong sunlight. The dried herb then tastes bland.
- Cut off entire shoot tips with sharp, clean scissors.
- Gently shake out the stalks to remove coarse dirt.
- Discard yellow and diseased leaves.
- Rinse briefly under running water and pat dry.
- Dry the herb very gently in a warm, dark, and well-ventilated place.
- Tie the shoots into small bouquets and hang them upside down.
- You can tell whether the herb has dried by the fact that the leaves rustle when touched.
Alternatively, you can dry the washed basil in the oven at the lowest temperature or in the dehydrator.
Can you skip washing?
Most basil jars you can buy at the grocery store are sprayed. To make sure that the herb is not contaminated, it should therefore be rinsed off in any case. It is also advisable to wash organic goods.
Since you don’t know which animals have crawled over basil from the garden, thorough cleaning is also recommended.
Plant basil bought in the store as quickly as possible in a fresh substrate. Herbs available there not only have to deal with a great deal of stress due to transport, but the nutrient content of the soil used is also usually too low for the heavy consumer. Planted in new soil, basil lasts for many months and does not, as is so often the case, die within a few days.