Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drying Basil

If there is one thing I have never had any trouble growing, it has to be basil. Even here in Colorado with the fluctuating temperatures, I have about 10 sweet basil plants in containers everywhere that are all flourishing.

When Mr. LH and I are cooking, we'll occasionally run outside to pick off a few leaves. Sometimes we'll clip off an entire stem to keep in a mug of water in the kitchen.

But when the plants start growing faster than we can use it, I dry them. The first time I dried basil this summer, I pulled out my food dehydrator. But with the air here so dry and the temperatures above 90 degrees everyday, I discovered it was faster to just dry them outside. Besides, isn't that what was done back before food dehydrators were invented?

Freshly picked and washed basil ready for drying

I wash the leaves and place them on baking sheets lined with paper towels.

These basil leaves still have about another hour to go.
It only takes about 3 hours outside to dry them completely. And if it's an especially windy day, it's best to cover them with a weighted down paper towel.

Dried basil, ready to be stored
Once dry, you can place them in a container or plastic bag and crush the dried basil leaves straight into your meals. It's much stronger than store bought dried basil so go light on it until you get a feel for how much to use.

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