Most basil plants thrive happily in a sunny herb garden throughout the growing season. Often a gardener may have such an abundant basil harvest that preserving the basil for ongoing use becomes necessary. Dry basil plants after cutting them fresh from the garden for a simple and effective way of saving fresh basil to use any time. Because basil dries quickly, it will be ready for long-term storage in a short time.
Cut basil stems from the basil plant early in the day after any dew evaporates from the plant foliage.
Place the basil stems into the colander and run cool water lightly over the stems to wash them. Shake the colander in the sink to remove as much water from the basil as possible.
Spread paper towels onto the counter in a double thickness. Remove the basil from the colander and place them onto the paper towels in a single layer. Cover the basil with another double thickness of paper towels and blot the moisture from the basil by pressing lightly on the paper towels.
Bundle four or five basil stems together and secure them tightly with a rubber band. Tie one end of a 6-inch length of string to each rubber band.
Hang the basil stems upside down in a warm and dry location by securing the other ends of the strings to a hook or rod. A curtain rod works well for this purpose.
Allow the basil stems to dry until they feel brittle and crumbly when you touch them. The drying time will vary, but should take less than one week. Untie the basil stems after they dry and store them in an airtight container at room temperature.