Preserve the summer’s bounty of fresh basil from the garden. Learn how to make freeze dried basil and enjoy all year long.
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One our favorite ways to use our freeze dryer is by preserving our homegrown herbs. When herbs are in abundance this is the perfect way to save them for later in the year! We like to make pesto, pizza, pasta, and soup with fresh basil from the garden. During the summer months we have more basil than we know what to do with!
I love that we can preserve them in a way that is second best to straight from the garden! Freeze dried basil is CRAZY good, and we will never go back to dehydrating our herbs! Freeze drying basil is quite simple.
You can freeze dry it all on its own if you have enough or with other herbs or food items at the same time. Freeze dried herbs retain all of their flavor and will keep for years, just like they were fresh, if packaged properly
If you’re using herbs from your garden, farmer’s market, or grocery store this year, freeze dry the extras. If you don’t already have an herb garden planned for next year, take note of what you’re using throughout the Fall and Winter, and be sure to plant plenty for freeze-drying next Summer!
Having plenty of freeze-dried herbs makes cooking meals even with basic ingredients taste really good!
Tools You’ll Need to Make Freeze Dried Basil
How to Make Freeze Dried Basil
- Obtain basil leaves from your preferred source. (Garden, farmer’s market, or grocery store.)
- Pluck the leaves from the basil stems. This ensures that the contents will freeze dry at the same rate. The stems are thicker and will take longer to freeze dry.
- Lay the basil leaves on your freeze-drying trays. If you have an abundance, you can also, chop or pulse the leaves BEFORE adding them to the trays. This will allow you to freeze dry more at once. Either method is good.
- Push the start button to allow the chamber of the freeze dryer to cool down before adding the trays.
- The LED screen will tell you when it is ready to load the trays. Make sure your valve is in the SHUT or CLOSED position before starting the freeze dryer. It should remind you on the screen to do this.
- Let the basil run for at least 24 hours before checking. Check to see that there is no moisture left in the leaves.
- Prepare the packaging you plan to store your basil in. This might be a mason jar, mylar bag, freezer bag, etc. Depending on how long you will store your basil. The reason you should prepare your container now, is that as soon as the basil comes out of the freeze dryer it will obtain moisture from the air…that may lead to spoilage if you are storing long term.
- If the basil is completely dry, (crunchy, crumbly, not sticking together at all).
- Open the valve and press defrost. Quickly transfer your herbs to your chosen container. If you are storing long term don’t forget the oxygen absorbers!
Label your Freeze Dried Basil
Label your mylar bag, jar, or freezer bag with the contents and date. The only way to stay organized with a large pantry is to know what you have! To do this all you really need is permanent marker! I like to use these vintage looking labels because we keep our herbs in plain sight. I love to have homegrown basil, preserved with a pretty label sitting on a shelf!
I use this matte waterproof label paper because it holds up so well in the kitchen! Be sure to get in white, since it also can come in a clear option.
After your labels are printed, cut them out with a pair of scissors and slap them on your jars, freezer, bag or mylar bag. Voila!
Freeze Dried Basil Tips
- If you are needing to freeze dry lots of basil, you’ll save space by finely chopping, or running the basil through your food processer before freeze drying. This will also cut down on the dry time.
- Make sure to prep your container and have it ready before you remove the basil from your freeze dryer. This will allow the basil to stay dryer longer.
- If you are storing your basil for long term storage, any more than three months, make sure to use mylar bags with the appropriate amount of oxygen absorbers.
- Test the basil before removing it from the freeze dryer. When in doubt, add more dry time.
- Be sure to label your basil with the date and contents. It is easy to forget what is, especially if you are storing long term. If you are wanting a pretty label to spruce up your herb jar, I’ve made you a free printable. I use this label in my own kitchen!
Commonly asked questions
Do I need a freeze dryer to freeze dry herbs?
YES! To properly freeze dry herbs, you need a freeze dryer. Freeze drying herbs, retains the flavor and color better than using a dehydrator, or air drying.
Do I need to freeze the herbs before freeze drying?
No. It is not necessary to freeze herbs before freezing.
Are freeze dried herbs the same as dehydrated herbs?
No. Freeze dried herbs retain their color, flavor, and texture at a much higher level than dehydrated herbs. Though dehydrated herbs are still a great option for preserving the harvest!