How to Dehydrate Basil Leaves
Basil leaves add an extra flavor and smell to any dish. If you want to elevate the flavor of any dish, basil leaves are your best friend. But wouldn’t it be great if you could preserve that leafy goodness? If you want to make use of basil leaves all year round, then dehydrate them.
Dehydrated basil leaves will not only retain the flavors but also help you level up your cooking game. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how to dehydrate basil leaves, using both an oven, a dehydrator, and even naturally so that you can use the one that suits your preference. We will also show you how you can store those dried leaves for the best possible result.
No matter if you are a pro or just getting started in cooking, this blog is your ultimate guide to easily dehydrate basil leaves. So, if you want to preserve and retain the flavor of basil leaves, then keep on reading.
Why dehydrate basil leaves?
So, why dehydrate basil leaves at all? Because it’s more than simply a way to preserve food; it allows you to enjoy the flavor of basil throughout the year, transforming your kitchen into a year-round paradise of extraordinary tastes. The best way to preserve the aromatic profile of basil is to store the leaves whole and crush them as needed. This provides a boost of vibrant taste to all dishes.
Finding strategies to maximize the crop of basil when your garden is overflowing with it becomes an exciting task! One excellent way to guarantee that the colorful flavor of basil stays in your kitchen over the Fall and Winter is to dry it out.
The flavor of home-dried basil is so much better than the little bottles you see on store shelves. Choosing the do-it-yourself approach enhances the flavor and gives your recipes an individual touch. Whether from your own garden or a nearby market, take advantage of the availability during peak seasons, and you’ll find that home-dried basil not only fills your cupboard but also saves you a few dollars.
How to dehydrate basil leaves in a food dehydrator or an oven
Whether you use your oven or a food dehydrator, the process is easy and rewarding. Now, let’s look into the steps of how to dehydrate basil leaves, using both an oven and a dehydrator so that you have these leafy gems all year round.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Harvest the basil leaves
To keep basil fresh and avoid wilting, harvest it carefully before it dries. Also, you should harvest the basil before it flowers for the richest, least bitter flavor. Flowering basil can still be used, so don’t throw it away! Moreover, if you want to promote bushier growth, then regularly trim basil where two leaves surround the stalk.
Step 2: Remove stem and rinse
Gather the basil, then remove the leaves from the stems, throwing the blooms and stems in the compost. To prevent browning, gently wash the leaves in lukewarm water, making sure the temperature is just right. Also, remove or snip leaves so that only the soft sections are left. Use lukewarm water to rinse away any leftover garden or soil residue.
Step 3: Remove excess water
Before beginning the drying process, make sure the basil leaves are totally dry. As in, remove the water from the rinsing you did in the earlier step. So, arrange them on a sanitized kitchen towel in a single layer. Then, gently roll the basil in the towel to ensure that it dries evenly and completely.
While getting rid of extra water, it is important to leave some residual moisture in place and don’t worry too much about it. Next, use a strainer to gently shake the leaves or gently wipe them dry with a dish towel free of dust. Even a salad spinner will do the job!
Step 4: Spread out basil leaves in trays
When the basil is completely dry from the excess water, spread out the leaves evenly across a baking sheet or dehydrator trays. It is important to spread out the leaves evenly in the trays or the sheet. This allows all of the basil leaves to dry evenly.
Step 5: Dehydrate basil leaves in a dehydrator or oven
The next step is to place the basil leaves in the dehydrator or the oven for drying. Before placing the basil in a dehydrator or an oven, you need to preheat them first.
So, if you are using a food dehydrator, then set it to a low temperature—ideally, 120 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It should take around four to ten hours to dehydrate fully. But you need to check on them every hour.
Recommended Reads: 10 Best Herb Dehydrators
For oven drying, you need to set the oven to the lowest possible setting, around 170-180°F. It should take a couple of hours for the basil leaves to fully dry. However, if the lower setting on your oven is 200°F or 180°F, then do it and also keep the door open. Also, ensure that the basil leaves don’t burn. Remember that the basil leaves should be crumbly to the touch. If it is not, then it hasn’t dehydrated properly. In that case, put the basil back in the oven for half an hour and check again.
Step 6: Process and store dehydrated basil leaves
Move the dried basil leaves to a mortar, dish, or spice jar to prepare them for storage. Using a pestle or your hands, crush them. Spoon the crushed leaves into airtight containers, such as the spice jars.
How long does it take to dehydrate basil?
The equipment and technique used will determine how long it takes to dehydrate basil leaves. It usually takes 4 to 10 hours in a low-temperature food dehydrator. It might take about one and a half or two hours if you use the lowest oven setting, but make sure to check frequently for crumbliness.
How to dry fresh basil leaves naturally?
It’s both easy and rewarding to preserve the bright freshness of fresh basil without using an oven or dehydrator. With the help of natural air drying, you can easily preserve the strong flavors of basil. However, this method requires several weeks to air dry basil leaves.
Here’s how to air dry basil leaves:
- Gather fresh basil leaves from a reliable source or your own garden. To get rid of any dirt or insects, give the leaves a thorough wash. Gently pat them dry.
- Lay out the cleaned basil leaves on a rack for drying herbs, or make your own using a mosquito net-covered frame. In order to ensure consistent airflow, it’s important to arrange the leaves in a single layer. It helps in keeping the drying process free of mold and browning.
- Make sure there is adequate airflow in the drying area. The basil should be kept out of direct sunlight and in a dry area. It will take a few weeks (usually two to four) for the leaves to completely dry, so try to be patient.
- Although it is recommended to bunch the basil to dry, it works better to make little bunches so that each leaf has enough air to breathe. The drying process may be affected by large bunches that restrict the airflow to the leaves within.
- Check the basil leaves for dryness on a regular basis. When thoroughly dry, they should crumble. Proceed with the drying process until all leaves are crumbled and dry, even if some still feel wet.
After the basil leaves have dried fully, put them in airtight jars.
What does dried basil look like?
The appearance of dried basil changes; its once vivid green, juicy leaves become more muted. Basil leaves get a soft, olive-green color and a crumbly, brittle feel after they are completely dry. The once glossy surface becomes matte, while the leaves become smaller and concentrate their flavors and vital oils.
The dried form has a strong scent and has the unique flavor of basil, even though the freshness may be lost. The concentrated flavor burst that dried basil gives to food, giving meals a sense of summer with every sprinkle, is what makes it so appealing.
Dried basil leaves health benefits
Dried basil leaves have many health advantages in addition to enhancing flavor in food. Basil has a regal background in herbal medicine. Basil is used in medicines, cosmetics, and dental products in addition to its cooking applications.
Using dried basil can lead to numerous health benefits, such as enhancing lipid profiles and glucose homeostasis in people with diabetes, strengthening the immune system, and improving memory and cognitive functioning.
Additionally, well-known for lowering stress and anxiety, basil is also said to support mental health in general. It has also historically been used to treat colds, arthritis, menstrual abnormalities, and renal issues. Adding dried basil to your diet improves your food and infuses your everyday life with a sense of holistic well-being.
In this guide, we discussed how to dehydrate basil leaves using both an oven, a dehydrator, and even naturally. We have provided a step-by-step instruction that will help you to preserve those herbs all year long. Not only will this incorporate flavors into your cooking, but it will also provide numerous health benefits.
Incorporating basil leaves in any dish will certainly help you earn praise when you serve those dishes to your guests or even your family. The process of drying this goodness is pretty simple and straightforward; just make sure you are following the steps carefully. So, if you want an extra “spice” in your kitchen country, dehydrated basil leaves are the best option for you!