drying herbs - Knowledgebase Question

New Hampton, Ne
Question by wojj532
September 19, 2010
i am drying basil leaves in paper bags with holes stabbed in them. some of the leaves are turning brown and others are not. there is no smell of mold. is this ok?


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Answer from NGA
September 19, 2010

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An easier way to dry basil is to simply lay it out on paper towels in a single layer and then set another paper towel over the top (to keep the leaves from blowing away if you walk by!). Although keeping them in a paper bag might work, I suspect that moisture is being trapped and bacterial rot is turning the leaves brown. I'd discard the brown leaves and lay the green leaves out as described above. They should air dry in just a matter of 2-3 days. Basil can also be frozen and used in pesto or salad dressings. Just lay the leaves out on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer. In about a half hour they should be frozen solid and you can dump them into a plastic baggie. If they are frozen in this manner they won't stick together and you can remove as many or as few leaves as you need for your recipe. When you need a leaf or two, just pull them out of the bag, then replace the bag in the freezer. Best wishes with your basil!

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