Harvesting and Drying Basil Leaves from the Garden
Our first season of Harvesting and Drying Basil Leaves from the Garden went EXTREMELY Well!!
- STEP 1 – HARVEST YOUR BASIL ALL SEASON LONG!
- STEP 2 – PULLING THE WHOLE PLANT AND SORTING
- STEP 3 – WASH, WASH AND THEN RINSE IN A STRAINER
- STEP 4 – SORT THROUGH THE BASIL AND PICK THE DEAD
- STEP 5 – LAYOUT ON RACKS TO DRY FOR A COUPLE DAYS
- STEP 6 – (3 DAYS LATER) – ALMOST DONE
- Step 7 – JARRING YOUR DRIED BASIL
STEP 1 – HARVEST YOUR BASIL ALL SEASON LONG!
The most important part about growing a ton of basil is harvesting your plant all season long. You constantly want to pick the top buds off your basil plant. I swear this is the secret to growing MASSIVE basil plants. I planted three transplants in a wine barrel and the basil plant was crazy huge.
Anyway, pick you basil flowers immediately when you see them. I was doing this almost every day or at least three times a week. Once a week you should be harvesting a pile of basil to dry out. Put them on a paper towel or a pan for a couple of days and then put the dry leaves into a jar and repeat.
STEP 2 – PULLING THE BASIL PLANT AND SORTING BASIL LEAVES
Once it comes to the end of the season, you want to pull the whole plant and then repeat the process above which we will demonstrate below. When you are cutting your basil plant down, you want to cut as close to the tops of your plants as possible so you don’t have to deal with that much stem.
STEP 3 – WASH, WASH AND THEN RINSE BASIL IN A STRAINER
After you have removed all the basil leaves from the stem, you should wash you basil leaves a couple times. Then, strain your basil and layout on a paper towel or kitchen towel to dry and sort.
STEP 4 – SORT THROUGH THE BASIL AND PICK THE DEAD
Once you have your basil leaves resting on a paper towel or a kitchen towel, SORT, SORT and then SORT some more. You don’t want dead basil leaves in your nice jar of organic dried basil. Do you?
Yes, that’s a coors light. I love coors light.
Yes, those are my dehydrator trays for the Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator and no I did not use them. I thought about it, that’s why they were out but I got lazy and just threw the basil leaves in pans. Thinking back, I should have dehydrated the basil leaves on SUPER LOW for a couple hours.
Here is a good article on dehydrating herbs: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/herbs.html
STEP 5 – LAYOUT ON RACKS TO DRY FOR A COUPLE DAYS
Once your basil is sorted, sifted and cleaned, layout your basil on many different pans as possible so the basil can dry faster. The more room the basil has to breath, the better it will dry and the faster it will dry.
STEP 6 – LETTING BASIL DRY (3 DAYS LATER) – ALMOST DONE
Periodically, check your basil and make everything looks right. On day 2-3, if you see really bright green fresh basil leaves hidden beneath other basil leaves, shake it up. Re-organize your basil leaves and let the fresh basil leaves get some fresh air so they can dehydrate.
Step 7 – JARRING YOUR DRIED BASIL
After you have let your basil sit out for a couple days (3-5 days) the FUN PART!! You get to jar your basil. : ) Get a mason jar and a funnel so you don’t lose any of your precious dried basil. Also, you might want to use the other end of a wooden spoon to crunch down some of the bigger leaves.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT: Dried Basil : )
We ended up with an entire mason jar full of dried basil to use all winter long! So exciting.