Picture of How to air dry basil
Air-drying basil is a really simple and easy way to preserve this yummy herb. The main requirement is time - it takes about 4 weeks for basil to dry properly. If you're looking for a good way to preserve basil immediately check out my Basil and Olive Oil icecubes Instructable.

Uses - Dried basil is fantastic in pasta, omelettes, scrambled eggs, on roast meat and/or vegies, in salad dressings, on fish, and it makes a great home-made gift.

Materials needed
- Fresh basil from the garden
- String, wool or cotton thread
- A plastic container or ziplock bag
- (optional) 2 x eyehooks

Time taken - 1 hour

This is what the basil looks like when it's been air-dried. The result is similar to the dry flakes you get in containers from the supermarket but it has a much stronger flavor: this is because you lock in the flavor by not breaking it up into those little flakes until right before you use it.
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Step 1: Pick and wash your basil leaves

Picture of Pick and wash your basil leaves
First things first, go out into your garden and cut some stems off your basil plants. The best time to cut basil is apparently 10am in the morning as this is when the leaves contain the most oil which is what gives basil it's delicious smell and flavor.

For this Instructable I used the entire top half of 4 basil plants, but you can use as much or as little as you want.

Put all the leaves and stems in a clean sink and let them soak for a few minutes. I don't use any pesticides on my plants but there are still usually little bugs on the leaves, dirt, and the occasional spider web you don't particularly want in your dinner ;)

Swish 'em round with your hand a few times for good measure.
dianne.rigdon5 months ago

So fun and funny! I am going to teach my daughter how to dry basil with your article.

SparkySolar5 months ago

Thank you I found this instructable just in time for my fall harvest

MarshaG6 months ago

I love having fresh herbs drying over my kitchen window

TrickahTreat7 months ago

This is great, thank you! I've learned how to do aquaponics from another instructable and now I have the happy issue of having TOO much basil! Yay! I'm happy none of this will go to waste with your easy techiniques.

Thank you for this great info and tips!! Please be well!

jjjllybean9 months ago

FYI you can dry herbs even faster by removing the leaves from the stem and laying them out on a wire rack. The downside of that is that it takes a little more time and space to do it this way. I'm inpatient though so that's what I do.

jnevitt110 months ago

Nicely done ... going to try riight now as it nears 10am in cascade Mts.

janetvande5 years ago
What does "above the jug" mean? Sorry, I only speak Yank, lol. To me, a jug is a large bottle. Thanks! I've airdried herbs before but never was brave enough to try it with my basil. I'll have to, now that I know it can be done successfully!
hsteel (author)  janetvande5 years ago
Jug = kettle :) If you dry the herbs over the kettle then when the kettle is on the steam from it can - at best - stop the herbs from drying properly and - at worst - make them moldy.
Mattheous5 years ago
Would this work for a dorm room? We have a great farmer's market down the street, and I'd love to dry some herbs for use throughout the whole year--the dining hall food could really use it!
hsteel (author)  Mattheous5 years ago
Hi Mattheous, yes it could definately work - you just need to put them up high in a dry spot that doesn't get direct sunlight all day. I haven't tried it myself but I'm sure you could dry herbs at the top of a clothes cupboard if you made some space (and don't mind your clothes smelling a bit like the herbs).
That's perfect! And it should really help my suite feel a little more like home... Thanks!
....I think you can smoke it too....not that I think its a very good ides though....
ChrysN6 years ago
Great instructions, I guess you can do the same with other herbs too.
hsteel (author)  ChrysN6 years ago
Thanks Chrys :) Yes you probably can, I haven't tried it myself but I'm pretty sure this method would work fine for parsley, rosemary, tarragon, mint, possibly even chives. The drying time may differ so you'd probably just want to test them after 2 weeks to see how they're going, instead of after 4 weeks.