This morning while watering my garden…an almost daily chore in this Texas heat, I noticed a large limb on my basil plant was bent over because it was so heavy with growth. Because I’m trying out Ina Garten’s “Weeknight Bolognese” tonight, it was the perfect opportunity to harvest the whole bunch! Even though I’ll only need ¼ cup, I can dry the rest for later. It’s a quick and easy process to dry herbs. I took some pictures of how I do it.
First you’ll want to carefully wash the basil with cold water. It’s easiest to do this while it’s still on the stem. Shake off as much water and gently slap the stems several times on a dry towel. This is the fun part…wrap the basil up in the towel and spin it around like you’re making a “rag tail” to pop someone with. This will actually “spin” the majority of the water off into the towel. (Who says cooking isn’t fun!?)
Next, lay the basil out on a dry towel—leaves still on the stems. Once dry, remove all of the leaves from the stem. Don’t let it lay out too long because the leaves will start to wilt pretty quickly.
Basil is a delicate herb that bruises easily. The best way to chop it is to stack it and roll it. Then you chop, chop, chop and have these nice “ribbons” of basil to use fresh or to dry.
Basically, you can dry most any herb in this same manner. Shown along with the basil is some dried oregano and rosemary (in the jar).
Visit my Facebook page to get a review and pictures of Ina's "Weeknight Bolognese" I'm sure it will be delicious--she' a masterful chef!
To dry, line a sheet pan with paper towels and spread the herb out as much as possible. Allow several days to air dry; mixing it around each day to allow air to circulate. Make sure your herbs are completely dry before storing or you could end up with a moldy mess! Store in a jar with a tight lid.