Drying out spices by hanging them upside down and letting nature take its course has been happening for thousands of years. So why would I waste my time writing an article about it? Good question, even though this process has been around forever, I didn't know about it last year so I think it is worthwhile sharing with you.
Okay, now for the basics. In order to dry out an awesome batch of homemade basil, you will need to start out with the best tasting basil you can grow. To do this, make sure you pull the basil plant right around the time it starts budding out. Once the plant starts going into flowering mode, the taste of the basil leaves will change. In fact, some people will pull the plants once they see the first bud. I am not that picky though.
Once the basil plant is ready to be harvested, pull the plant out of the ground root and all. After that is done, shake off all of the dirt that you can off the root-ball and gently wash the dirt off the leaves. Once the plant is clean, let it dry out for a bit in the sun before bringing it to the spot you are going to hang it at (unless you don't care if the ground where you are hanging the plant gets muddy or dirty).
Now that you have a clean, dry basil plant. It is time to hang the plant. Where should you hang the plant? I don't think it matters as long as it is out of the elements. I tried one outside and a few in my basement. The one outside dried faster than the ones in the basement but I didn't cover it so the first rain ruined it.
To hang the plant, tie a rope around the root-ball and hang it upside down. Once this is done, wait a few days for the leaves to dry and you have dried basil! You can leave the plants hang if they are in a cool area or take the plants down and mash the leaves (picking out the stems) and put the pieces in to a sealed container. This will make the basil last longer.
That concludes how easy it is to dry out basil. If you get a chance, please try drying out your basil this way next summer. I had a lot of fun doing this and I believe it is a great example of what this site is all about. Who knew something our ancestors did thousands of years ago would still be the best method today?