Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Drying Basil

By Skeeter

The Herb Bed in my Georgia Garden would have been a flop this year if not for the Basil. The Basil has been growing like a weed all summer long. I can only use so much in a week so decided to dry some for future use in sauces, soups, etc. The first step after I clip some, is to wash it well in the sink.
I then take twist ties and twist around the stems then hang it in the Pantry where it is secured from the cats paws! It stays dark and cool in the pantry so a good place for me to dry my herbs.

Here you see some Basil that has been in the pantry for about a week drying. The Basil is growing so quickly that I am hanging a new batch each week. In this picture, you see the Fresh above the Dried Basil.
Now we are ready for the next step in preserving the herbs for later use.
We now move to the kitchen counter top with our completely dried Basil.
I remove the twist ties and reuse them on the next batch of herbs. I remove all the stems with only leaves remaining.
The last step is to crunch the Basil into small pieces and then place them into an old Basil container or jar. If you prefer, you can let the leaves remain as are and crunch up as needed to keep the flavor a bit stronger.

I have a dehydrator and use that method at times but I enjoy the scent of DRYING BASIL, in my Pantry which came from, In the Garden...


  1. Hi Skeeter, I enjoyed this post, could almost smell the basil scent myself. I often freeze spare basil and other herbs,in an ice cube tray.But then you don't get the lovely scent, or the homely olde worlde look of the hanging bunches.
    cheers, catmint

  2. Hey Skeeter girl ! I do this too .. but alos a trick I have found over the years is to store fresh herbs .. rosemary, thyme, etc .. in those paper lunch bags then in a cupboard over the fridge .. it is warm and dry in that area of the kitchen and it works VERY well : )
    Loved seeing this : )
    Basil does smell amazing !!

  3. Oh, I have to get off my butt and do this! Today will be good, thanks Skeeter!

  4. Last year I made quite a bit of pesto and froze it. I still have some in the freezer this year but I tell you I loved the fresh pesto. You are so good with drying your basil! I used to do this once upon a time. Now it seems I am a bit lazy and just let it go. Like Dawn I think I may need to get off my butt and dry some too-especially since I always cook spagetti sauce.

  5. This is a great idea, I normally dry basil leaves on a plate, but hanging them looks so much for efficient, more air circulation, etc., I'll be trying this.

  6. I'm always forgetting to get to my basil early enough to do things with it. I think I'll tackle some this weekend for pesto and maybe try drying some.

  7. I imagine that the pantry smells wonderful with the basil drying in there! I will have to do something with mine soon.

  8. Great tutorial! I have some extra basil right now, too. I ended up letting my Thai spicy basil bloom because it's so pretty! But, I want to save my sweet basil.


  9. That is something I've never done but you make it sound very easy. Good idea putting it into an old basil jar, that way it's labeled already.

  10. I can't even buy basil in spice jars anymore, the taste is so bland compared to homegrown herbs!
    Thanks for the demo! And thanks for leaving nice comment on my blog, you are very sweet.

  11. Great post Skeeter. Now I need to dry some. I love the smell of fresh herbs. Will Rosemary work the same?

    I hope all are having a lovely day.

  12. Oh I can almost smell it now. Good job.

    Tina, Christy called at 5:30 this morning and guess what?!!! Yup, they were in Bangor but only going to be there for 2 horus and since it takes 2 hours to get there, there was no sense to get dressed and go. She must have called from one of the cel phones the greeters have for the going or returning troops as I did'nt know the number. I kept telling her I bet they would go thru Bangor. Most of them do and they service the plane there before going overseas. If it was Portland we would have had time to get there but all international flights go to Bangor as the runway in Portland is not long enough for the larger planes.

  13. Catmint, Your drying method sounds interesting. Do you put water in the trays also or just use them as a container while dry freezing?

    Joy, Ah, your method seems real easy so I will do this with the next batch of Basil I pluck.

    Dawn, Get off that butt girl. LOL..

    Tina, Like sis, get off your butt girl. Hee hee, Give Joys method a try. It seems like an easier way of drying herbs. I will give my next batch this try. Yum, I like Pesto sauce but have never made it before. What is your recipe for the yummy delight?

    Lzyjo, I like to dry it this way as it fills the pantry with a wonderful scent…

    Dave, By drying the herbs, it lasts for a many months to come! Not as wonderful as the fresh but still works great in soups, sauces and stews…

    Janet, The pantry does smell wonderful with the hanging basil, give it a try…

    Cameron, Ah, will the sweet Basil bloom as well? I pluck it so have never seen it bloom. If I know it will bloom, I may leave some for the butterflies and bees to enjoy…

    Marnie, It is easy to dry basil. As Joy says, you can just put it in a bag and store in a dry place. Give it a try as using your own herbs is rewarding to the soul. I had used all the store bought Basil this spring so I kept the jar knowing I was going to grow it this year…

    Rosey, Store bought herbs were always fine for me until I started to grow my own herbs. It is amazing how wonderful fresh herbs taste even after drying them! I did not have luck growing parsley this year so bought some fresh at the grocery and dried it…

    Lola, I have never grown or dried Rosemary. I do believe you can dry any herb using this method though. Basil does put a nice scent in the pantry. Rosemary is a strong scented herb and would smell nice as well...

    Jean, Am glad you got a snoot full this morning! :-) Glad to hear Christine made it safe on this leg of her journey. Too bad you were not close enough for a hug and quick visit with her before she took off. Lets pray she remains safe on her next portion of the journey…

  14. Skeeter, I can't remember where I got the recipe from but there are tons on the Internet. I can guarantee you mine was an easy one. It is so good with pasta.

    Mom, Super! Seems like Bangor is on the legs of journeys so often. Bummer you couldn't be there. I wonder why she did not use her cell phone? She took it and it would work there.

  15. Tina, her cephone sure would have worked as it is a Maine # but I thought she had made arangements to have it shut off as it sure would not work for the year in Iraq. I looked the # up on the reverse # lookup and it came up as a cell phone out of Annapolis so may have been another soldier's phone and not from the Bangor Airport Greeters. I sure wish she had called before landing as that would have given us time to get there.

  16. I am so doing this! I have sweet and cinnamon basil growing!!

  17. herbs are very inportant for all !!! liebe Grüße von Kathrin

  18. Thanks Skeeter! This is what I like to do, too. I love fresh basil best, but dried basil adds the right touch to some dishes. Love that you reuse the basil jar! Me, too! gail

  19. I definitely need to get some drying. I never remember to, but this is a great reminder and "how to".

  20. Thanks for the reminder Skeeter! I do need to get out in the garden to harvest more basil. The garden has become a construction zone mess because we're doing some sidewalk replacement and brick repair, and it's so ugly right now I've been avoiding it. But I always plant more basil than I can use fresh just so I can dry some. The stuff from the store just isn't the same.

  21. Tina, I will be looking for your email of the recipe. ;-)

    Jean, maybe the troops were given phones for a quick call home. Sometimes people sponsor such nice gifts...

    Darla, You will so enjoy the scent of the herbs in the house and the yummy treats you make with them...

    Kathrin, Herbs are so good in sauces, soups and other fun things we cook. Greetings to all in Germany!

    Gail, The fresh basil is best but with too much growing, drying is the way to go. I can recall a time when money was an issue in the house, thus I reuse when possible and those plastic bottles are already labeled and ready to go making my life a bit easier. Hee hee..

    Catherine, now is the time for drying herbs as they should all be ready for plucking. Get busy and pluck away...

    Garden Girl, you are so right about herbs being so much better when home grown. Just put your blinders on while in the mess and soon your mess will be only a memory and nice new sidewalk to stroll about...

  22. Your dried basil will come in handy this winter, it looks great. Basil is one thing I grow every year but I really don't like its taste. Don't ask me why I keep planting it :-)

  23. very cool, i hope you enjoy these dried basil leaves long after the winter comes.
    happy september.

  24. Hi, thanks for letting me know how to do that! I LOVE Basil and use a lot when I cook. I have to grow basil next year and dry my own / gittan

  25. As I read this post the thought of the smell almost came to me:) Enjoy your dried basil in the coming months!

  26. Great post and great pics! There is nothing like the smell of basil. Sometimes I just go out to my garden for no other purpose than to smell the basil. I had to laugh when you said that your garden would have been a flop if not for the basil. I have been there! I think that is part of the reason why I love basil so much - it is just so darn easy to grow!

  27. Great post, Skeeter--I just wish I had seen this last year:) For some reason, I didn't plant any basil this year, but I did have some last year. It wound up going to seed because, as you say, I couldn't use it all fast enough. I'll have to try growing it again next year and try your methods of drying. I know this will be fresher than what you can buy in the store!

  28. Dan, you are too funny with your basil. You just like to plant stuff and this is one that will give you joy with its growth...

    Marmee, Happy Sept to you too! We will have fun with the Basil long after summer is gone...

    Gittan, Do give drying Basil a try. The first time I tried my hand at drying herbs was when we lived in Germany. I grew the herbs in planter boxes on the balcony and dried them in the utility room of our apartment. Worked wonderful for us...

    Kanak, The scent is wonderful isn’t it? Rosemary comes second to mind with strong scent...

    Tracy, So true for the flopping herb garden. Parsley, Chives and Cilantro all just sat there while Basil reared its head to the skies above! Some years it is like that I guess but will give them all another try next year...

    Rose, Yep, it was growing so quickly that we could not eat it all. I have some ready to pluck now so need to get out there and pluck away. We should have plenty to last until next spring when time to plant more Herbsl...

  29. Oh, I'm so glad I read this post. I'm headed outside to harvest my basil RIGHT NOW! I haven't ever dried it before but it's an herb I use all the time & I am encouraged by your easy instructions. Usually I just let the frost take it. How bad is that?

  30. Kathleen, when dried, you can save it for a long time and enjoy its taste in many things you cook during the winter months!