Whether you’re an avid gardener with too much basil on your hands, or simply want a thrifty way to have a kitchen staple in the spice/herb cabinet, drying basil is a fun, simple way to utilize what you already have in your garden.
I started my basil this year from seed, and the picture on the left was just before our first farmer’s market. Look what a tiny, cute, little basil plant it was! 🙂 I took the picture on the right last night, just before our last farmer’s market for this summer.
It’s so fun to watch things grow!
Even though I’ve divided this little guy once, and use it on a weekly basis for cooking and baking, it’s still huge! It’s been a blessing to share the extra basil with friends and family, and figure out how to dry it for spice/herb storage.
In the past, I’d usually pick up dried basil in a small plastic spice container at the grocery store, but after realizing how easy drying it is, I don’t think I’ll be buying it very often!
Even in this midsummer heat, the 200 degree oven temp didn’t heat up the house, and I was pleased with how beautiful the house smelled afterward!
Here’s what I did:
Gather 1 heaping cup of basil leaves. Discard the stems and flowers, if there are any.
Finely chop the basil leaves and spread over a silicone baking sheet.
Bake at 200 degrees for 40 minutes.
Make sure to check the basil every ten minutes or so (and every five toward the end of the baking time) to ensure none of the leaves are getting burned or hiding under larger pieces.
Cool for at least ten minutes. Crumble the basil leaves into tiny pieces. Pick up the silicone mat and shake the basil into your container – I think a tiny glass mason jar would be adorable! – and use as usual in cooking and baking!
I love shaking it right into pasta sauces and sprinkling it over homemade pizzas.
I will definitely be redo-ing this kitchen experiment in the future!