Conversion and measurement are almost everyday activities in the kitchen. You are either converting fresh herbs to dry herbs or you’re making measurements based on the requirements of a recipe. In this article, fresh and dried basil leaves are the focus.
If you cook with herbs like basil, thyme, fennel, rosemary, and sage, you’re very familiar with words like fresh herbs, dry herbs, and sprigs. These are the different forms these herbs exist and how your recipe may require them as a flavoring for dishes.
For instance, your recipe requires fresh basil but what you have is dried basil. How much fresh basil equals dried basil? How should you measure basil, and how can you substitute one form for the other? These are the important questions this article answers.
What is basil?
Basil, a member of the mint family, is an aromatic herb that originates from Asia and Africa. Basil is mostly used to flavor meals and tea. The tender leaves are loaded with nutrients that provide health benefits.
Adding basil leaves to meals for aged people can help increase their mental alertness and slow down the aging process.
Also, basil can help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, aid stroke recovery, relax blood vessels, improve fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and prevent cancer.
Furthermore, basil has many varieties, some of which include: sweet basil, holy basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, Thai basil, lettuce basil, African blue basil, and Greek basil.
Sweet basil is the most common variety and is what is most times referred to as basil. Apart from flavoring dishes, the most common use of basil is in making pesto sauce.
How much fresh basil is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried basil?
Two teaspoons of fresh basil leaves are equal to 1 teaspoon of dried leaves.
How much fresh basil is equal to 1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves?
Two tablespoons of fresh basil equal 1 tablespoon of dried basil. One tablespoon of dried basil is also equal to ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves.
½ cup of fresh basil leaves is equal to how much dried basil?
½ cup of fresh basil leaves is equal to two tablespoons of dried basil.
1 cup of fresh basil leaves is equal to how much dried basil?
1 cup of fresh basil leaves equals 1/3 cup of dried basil leaves.
How to measure basil leaves
Measure basil leaves only. Remove the leaves off the stem and put them into the measuring cup. While you want to fill the cup, you shouldn’t compress the leaves in the cup.
How to make fresh basil leaves into dried basil
1. Oven drying
- Gather basil from your garden
- Wash thoroughly to remove dirt and bugs
- Carefully remove the leaves from the stems
- Then, use a clean paper towel to dab the leaves and absorb moisture. If you dry wet basil leaves in the oven, they’ll come out cooked instead of dried, so you must remove moisture
- Preheat the oven to 170°F or 180°F (whichever is the lowest setting on your oven)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Then, lay the leaves out on the baking sheet. Make sure they do not overlap
- Allow the leaves to dry for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how many leaves you’re drying
- Check the leaves to see if they are dry enough or almost there
- You can dry them for another 10-20 minutes if they are not crisp dry
- While you’re drying basil in the oven, make sure that the temperature in the oven does not exceed 170°F or 180°F
- When you’re sure the leaves are dried enough, bring them out to cool fully
- After, you can store them in an airtight container and out of sunlight and direct heat
- When you need to use dried basil, crush only as many leaves as you need and store the rest
Note: in-between drying, remove any dried leaves to prevent them from getting burnt
- Wash basil under running water to remove dirt and bugs
- Remove the leaves from the stems
- Then, neatly arrange them on a drying rack and leave them to dry
- The leaves should be kept in a humidity-controlled room to dry. Check on the leaves regularly and move them if the room becomes too humid. Otherwise, they’ll develop mold
- However, you can start drying them in front of a window for a short contact with sunlight to remove excess moisture before you dry them away from the sunlight
- Air-drying takes the longest. It takes at least one week for the leaves to fully dry. While it takes this long to dry the leaves, it is your best bet at retaining the natural flavors
3. Use the microwave to dry basil
- Gather basil leaves
- Rinse them under running water to remove dirt and bugs
- Then, use a clean paper towel to absorb moisture from the leaves
- Afterward, neatly arrange the leaves on one clean paper towel and place the towel on the microwave plate
- Cover the leaves with another paper towel
- Microwave the leaves on a low setting for about three minutes or using 10 seconds bursts
- Remove the leaves from the microwave and allow them to complete drying at room temperature
- Store the dried leaves in an airtight container
4. Dehydrate the leaves
- Gather basil from the garden
- Rinse them thoroughly to remove dirt and bugs
- Carefully remove the leaves from the stem
- Then, dab the leaves with a paper towel to absorb moisture
- Afterward, lay the leaves out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer and put it in the dehydrator
- Dry the leaves at 95°F or 100°F (depending on the lowest setting)
- It should take 12 to 24 hours for the leaves to fully dry. However, you should check on them
- When the leaves are dried enough, bring them out and allow them to come to room temperature
- Store the dried leaves in an airtight container
- When you need dry basil, crush only as many as you can use at a time
Can you substitute fresh basil leaves with dried basil?
Yes, you can. Following the ratio of 1:3, you can substitute fresh basil with dried basil leaves. Replace three parts of fresh basil leaves with one part of dried basil.
Dry basil has a stronger and spicier aroma and taste when compared to fresh basil. So, you don’t want to overpower your meals with dried basil.
Can you replace fresh basil with dried basil when making pesto?
Yes, you can use dried basil leaves to make pesto, but it won’t be anything like pesto made with fresh leaves. Pesto made with dried basil will not have the vibrant green color that fresh leaves give pesto. Moreover, the dried leaves will give your pesto a slightly bitter taste.
How much basil is in two sprigs?
Two sprigs of basil will yield 2 tablespoons of chopped basil leaves. And each sprig holds about 3 to 4 basil leaves.
How much is a handful of basil leaves?
A handful of basil leaves is ½ of a cup.
How many leaves are in a cup of basil?
A cup of basil holds about 15-40 leaves. One bunch of basil leaves yields 1 cup of packed basil leaves, 1 cup of chopped basil, and 2 cups of loose basil leaves.
Should you chop fresh herbs before or after measuring?
When you measure basil depends on what the recipe calls for. If you need whole leaves, you’ll have to measure before you chop. But if your recipe calls for chopped basil leaves, chop before you measure.
Fresh basil leaves and dried basil are some of the forms of this herb you can find. Dried herbs are about three times more flavorful than fresh herbs. Also, dried herbs look more compact and smaller in quantity. So, the substitution ratio should be 1:3.
With this ratio, you can easily replace fresh basil leaves with dry leaves. You can also work with sprigs where that’s all you have.
I hope this article answers your questions.
Thanks for reading.
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