Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

This is a cross post from my blog, domestic efforts.

This weekend, it was time to harvest what was left of my basil, and there was quite a bit of it. Tips for preserving basil often suggest making pesto, but I'm not a huge fan of the stuff. I decided instead to experiment with drying, since I use dried basil quite a bit in soups and stews. Since I don't yet own a dehydrator, I took a shot at drying the leaves in the microwave. Luckily, the microwave method was not only successful but incredibly quick! The result was completely dried basil that still kept its rich color and glorious scent. I plan to experiment with other herbs in the future.

How to dry basil in the microwave
(caveat: since microwaves vary, you may need to adjust the time/heat level. This method probably works best in a microwave with a rotating plate.)
  • Wash and thoroughly dry all basil leaves.
  • Lay an individual layer of basil leaves on a dry paper towel on your microwave's plate. Cover the leaves with another paper towel.
  • Let the microwave run for 30 seconds. Turn leaves over, and let it run for another 30 seconds.
  • Repeat as necessary (it only took me 1 1/2 minutes!)
  • Before storing (whole or crushed), ensure that all moisture has been depleted (see caption below).
(Basil leaves after drying. I placed the dried basil on a paper towel and covered with saran wrap overnight in order to check that all moisture had been depleted.)

(I decided to keep the dried basil whole rather than crushing it. I'll subsequently crush the pieces that I need for each recipe.)

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Comment by Diane Fallon on August 30, 2014 at 3:27pm

I have changed my mind. That is allowed isn't it? Seriously,  I used the basil that I had dried in the microwave and it was quite tasty. Some of the oils may have gone into the paper towels during microwaving but not all of it. One thing I did notice is that the flower heads do not dry as fast as the leaves. It is best to do them separately. I dried the basil on reduced power (7) for 30 seconds at a time on a rotating plate for a total of 1  and 1/2 minutes. It turned out nice and green and crunchy. Thanks, everyone,  for all your suggestions.


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