Sunday, August 25, 2013

Drying Basil

The basil is tall and bushy in the garden.  Last weekend I made pesto for the freezer; this weekend I dried basil for winter use. In the past I have experimented with hanging basil stems to dry, but it hasn't worked out well.  You really need a warm dry space like an attic to do that, or better yet, an arid climate.  This year I got out the dehydrator, and the results were both fast and great.  Unlike tomatoes, peaches, etc., you can dry herbs in about 2 hours.

Ready to dry
Choose leaves that are still reasonably tender and are not insect-eaten or yellowed. Spread them out in more or less one layer on the dehydrator trays. It's okay if they overlap because they will shrink considerably as they dry.

Dry for about 2 hours, checking periodically after the first hour and a half. When done, they should be brittle and crisp with no trace of moisture remaining.  Store in an airtight container, crushing them as you fill it.

Post drying - the leaves have shrunk
Ready for storage in the pantry

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