When I planted my new raised garden July 15, I bought a left over
withered basil plant and stuck it in. Now it is 2 feet in diameter, 2
feet tall and dense with leaves. How is the best way to dry
I cut it back, like any plant, then tie the stems together with string and
hang itu upside down in an area with wind movement. (we live in a humid
area so I worry about molding). that's alwyas worked for me.
On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 10:38:50 -0400, Allan Matthews
With a food dehydrator, probably.
But I don't dry basil, I don't think the taste holds up very
well to drying. I freeze it, and this keeps all that great
'fresh basil taste' (although not the texture, of course)..
I puree lots of basil leaves in my blender, with enough
water to make a thick but pourable slurry. Then I pour this
into ice-cube trays and freeze them. When they're frozen
solid, I take the 'basil-cubes' out of the ice trays and
store them in the freezer in a freezer bag.
Then I just grab a basil cube or two and toss it into soups,
stews, chili or pasta sauce whenever I'm cooking them.
"Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of
supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to
You can also wash and pat dry each individual leaf, wrap in a paper towel,
napkin, or cheesecloth, then put a stack into a sandwich bag and freeze them
that way. When you use them, take them out, cut them frozen (once thawed
the consistency will be practically gone), and use them that way (if you are
cooking, that is, don't do this for fresh salads...lol). I've done this
Also, you can get some olive oil, a nice jar with a sealable lid, and make
some basil oil by washing, then filling the jar with your fav. oil, and
dropping in a "twig" of basil with leaves. You can also add a bit of thyme,
rosemary, and sage, and use that for cooking a YUMMY chicken or pork.
Last year, at a friend's recommendation, I washed some basil leaves
and tossed them wet into a bag and into the freezer. When I want
some, I just pound the bag to chop the leaves and then use them.
To reply, please remove "fluff" from my address.
Pluck the leaves from the plant and put them (lots) in trays you get
from the nursurey to hold your six packs, do this on day when its sunny
and you are not going anywhere. Place the trays in your car with the
windows rolled up in the sun. In a few hours you have completely dry
basil. We do this as we live off grid and dehydrators and freezers are
power hogs (though we have freezer). We use a lot of dried basil in the
winters and this way, although its not fresh, your basil doesnt cost you
The basil smell in the car doesnt hang around long in the event it
Allan Matthews wrote:
What a great idea!
I use paper bags. Pick off all the leaves, fill the bag 1/4 full flatten to
distribute evenly in bag and put them in a dry place standing up - this way
you can store more like books. You can cut small slits in sides of bags for
air circulation. I do this with all my herbs now and it takes a while
depending on the humidity and temp and I like it better than drying and
hanging I used to do. Less messy to pick off the fresh leaves than dried.
I think next yr I'll try the car idea.
We have been using the bags too. We never tried the slits but the last
bit of basil we tried some of it got moldy. Perhaps the slits are the
answer or we had them too packed or in an area with not enough circulation.
My wife just did 4 trays of herbs (quite a bit) in the truck the other
day, its so fast it makes it easy.
Thanks for the tip on the slits...
Tina Gibson wrote:
Not much chance of drying anything in the car here anymore - it's possible
we'll get our first frost this weekend. HIghs are in the low 20s (C).
You're off the grid!! Something we are working towards. Got a house in the
city and mainly undeveloped property in the country. Get a little more done
out ther every yr - but can't actually move till the kids are out of
highschool - no way they'll move out there!! Only have a sauna building out
there that we try and stay in on weekends when things aren't too hectic in
town. So only pseudo - country folks for the moment. Hopefully next yr a
house will start to appear....
What do you depend on? wind, solar, water-power?? What is your water source
and how do you irrigate your garden? Be interested in hearing more. Sorry if
you've already posted - I've been absent from these news groups for about 4
yrs now...recently severenced off and have some free time on my hands..
Good luck in getting out to your land. Right now we are on solar and
hoping, as soon as we get a shop built, to build a wind generator. We
havent had any need for power since the solar got online but at this
point we are only in a small cabin while we are building the house.
Having the extra boost of the wind will be handy when the whole house is
done. We have all the regular do-dads, Frige, TV, PC, Satellite
internet, stereo, etc.. Washer and such will come when we get in the house.
For water we catch rain water off the roof (metal) store it (2500
gallons) in cisterns. For drinking water we built a solar distiller. Put
water from the cisterns in it. For the garden, once the house is done we
will recycle greywater from the house and use underground irrigation in
areas we can. We are also going to build another cistern for the
greenhouse for watering (catching rain).
We have only been here for a year and a half now and we lost almost all
of last winter and spring as it was very wet and we werent able to work
much. Hopefully this winter will be better for working.
Tina Gibson wrote:
You can pull the whole plant out and cut off the root area. If some of the
branches are thick enough, break them or cut them off. Then tie a string
around a group of them. I took about 5-6 branches and tied string around a
bunch on one end and tied another bunch at the opposite end of the string.
In other words, you have a bunch of branches hanging off each end of the
string. You can also use rubber bands to make sure it's tight enough and
doesn't fall out. You can hang the string over a shower rod and let it dry
naturally. I had natural light, but not sun hitting them. They will take a
couple of weeks to completely dry. You want to make sure that they crumble
and are not rubbery when removing the leaves. Otherwise, you will have mold
growing in a jar. Store the dried leaves in an air tight container in a
cool, dry place (kitchen cabinet works).
You can also freeze basil. I do this more than drying now. You can try a
few leaves and see what you think. Remove some leaves from the plant and
wash them in cold water. Leave them wet and lay them in a freezer ziploc
bag. They can be layered as thick as you want. Seal the bag and use a
straw to suck out the excess air (vacuum seal) so you don't get freezer
burn. Every time you need basil for a recipe, just crumble the leaves and
pour some in. The basil becomes brittle when frozen and by squeezing the
bag, it breaks into tiny pieces (perfect for recipes).
We're getting pelted with lots of rain and gusting winds right now from
Hurricane Isabel. It's supposed to get worse in the next few hours.
Hopefully, we'll have power tonight.
Zone 7b - Raleigh, NC
To all the people who recommended cutting the entire plant, and hanging
upside down to dry, how do you all deal with the dust that settles on
the plants. Please dont say "I put them in an area that isnt that
dusty". It would seem unless you live in a home that is extremely tight
and uses an air to air heat exchanger with filtration or something dust,
and good amounts given the time it takes basil to dry, would be in most
every home. All the dust that settles on your drying basil is ground
right up with the basil unless you can somehow dust the plant without
shattering the leaves when its dry.
While I am not affraid of eating dust, as it was part of my proffession
in the construction trade for many years, with all that we put into our
gardens to include lots of dust in the final product doesnt seem right.
For this reason alone we rarely dry anything out in the open anymore
even dried flowers that are not to be eaten.
Allan Matthews wrote:
On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 10:38:50 -0400, Allan Matthews
I have never had much luck drying basil. The end result does not seem
to me to be remotely like the fresh, and so I don't bother. I have
not tried the various freezing altermatives. Since I live in a
relatively warm climate and have a small greenhouse, there are really
only about 60-80 days during which there is likely not to be fresh
On the other hand, if your basil has gone to seed, you might want to
consider cutting off the seed heads and drying them. They provide a
fairly strong, and "durable" form of stored basil. To use in
cooking, it is better to tie them in cheesecloth as the husks are kind
of tough. Give it a try.
The traditional italian method is to preserve/dry them in salt. Seems
to work nicely.
Get a sealable mason jar, put 1" coarse salt in the bottom, put a single
layer of basil, cover with 1/2" salt, add another layer of basil, repeat
until you top it with 1" salt.
Bonus is that you get basil-scented corase salt to use as you use up the
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