Basil is a kitchen basic. Almost any seasoning company you can name supplies dried basil. I have purchased commercially dried basil when I have been desperate. However, even the top brands cannot compete with the flavor of basil you dry from your garden.
You have control over all the aspects of drying basil leaves, including the varieties of basil you choose to dry. There is a broad spectrum of basil out there. But you would never know that by reading the labels on those little bottles lining the grocery shelves. Check out the steps below or listen to the video on YouTube: drying basil leaves.
Try different varieties of basil so you know which one(s) you prefer to cook with.
The day before you plan to cut the basil for drying wash it thoroughly with a fine spray of water. Most leafy greens collect dust and basil is no exception. The basil will have time to dry before you cut. This is important. Moisture on the leaves could lead to spoilage.
Oil is highest in the leaves in the morning so you want to cut in the morning for peak flavor. However, cut after all the dew has evaporated.
A note: Lemon basil imparts much more lemon essence when it is dried than when it is fresh. I don’t want to be without this one. It helps to make up for the lack of lemon grass in the winter.
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