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Sep 29, 2009

Basil- The Jury’s Back


Not too long ago, I did a post about our basil and the best way to dry it. I wasn’t very happy with the results of drying it on my new soil sifter (thanks dad!;), and it was in the heat of summer that I tried it that way even though it was in dappled shade. I decided to dry my basil 3 different ways (thanks to hubby) to really get an idea of how best to go about it. I want my dried basil to end up with good flavor, and be fragrant too- unlike store bought, dried basil.

So, the results are in. I tried drying it on the soil sifter, as you remember. Then I tried it in the dehydrator, and the third choice was to hang it in a cool, dark place in a mesh-type bag. I chose to use the little bags lemons come in. To start off, I was so unimpressed with the basil I dried outside on the soil sifter, I tossed it. Now maybe if the heat hadn’t been so high that week, I might have had a different outcome- something to think about for next year, maybe.

The basil dried with the dehydrator left me a little disenchanted as well, but for comparison sake I didn’t toss it. I then grabbed some fresh from the garden and put it in a bag (lemon bag) and hung it in a cool, dark spot that doesn’t get disturbed much. I also left the dehydrated batch on a plate in the same location. You can see a picture of the sad outside, heat dried basil here, and read the previous post.



On the left is the dehydrator dried basil, the right is the air dried basil. I can say, without a doubt, that the air dried basil has a heavenly scent that causes my mouth to water! The color is a little brighter green, which is hard to see in this shot, but the scent is really strong compared to the other- which is almost void of any scent at all. The flavor is far superior as well...and just in time for some fall/winter dishes- Yum!

Now maybe I shouldn’t have dried the first batch during a really hot week outside. And maybe I over dried the second batch in the dehydrator- I think it was Daphne at Daphne’s Dandelions that warned me of the dehydrator being a tricky way to do it- maybe take a look at her comment on the previous basil post. All I know is that the 3rd batch that was dried in a cool, dark, indoor spot ended up the best- and that is how I’ve always done it, just with much smaller bunches. Next year, I plan on drying some in a dark, cooler area outdoors (a shed maybe?) and we’ll see what happens- this is all assuming I can grow it next year!

I hope you are all enjoying the days heading into fall- our sun is gone now and it looks like our typical, cloudy, dreary days are now upon us- and will be for quite a long time. Goodbye sun, it was nice knowing you.

Happy Gardening,



  • Anonymous

    excellent...I will now make sure I dry my basil and other herbs this way and not try the other devices...some times the old ways really are the best ways...thanks for carrying out the experiments for me!!!!

  • Daphne

    Yup that was me that said it. I have a hard time drying basil in my dehydrator without it getting too hot. Sadly it is so humid over the summer that it won't air dry. I have to use a dehydrator - at least in the summer. Maybe I can try to air dry some next fall.

  • Meredith

    Good to know -- I haven't tried drying my basil yet, and this will have me well prepared on what to do and what not to do.

  • lynn'sgarden

    Trial and error, that's how we learn. I tried to dry some thai basil in a cool place but had too much in the bunch so it got mouldy...ick!

  • Kate

    Glad to hear the dehydrator didn't win out. I'm an air drying fan - mostly because I'm too cheap to purchase another drying gadget. :)

  • Anonymous

    We did not like the smell of our basil that we dried in the dehydrator, we liked the ones that were dried in the oven better, but still not well. I thought that if I tried to air dry them, they would stick together and become moldy. we have a sufficient amount of humidity here, and sometimes it causes mold. How did you combat that, or was it not a problem?

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