Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drying Basil

There are a couple different ways to dry herbs but today we will be talking about using a food dehydrator, which in my opinion is the easiest and most successful way.

The manufacturer recommends taking the herb directly from the garden, shaking or brushing any dirt off & then dehydrating immediately.  However, I find that with my sandy soil there always seems to be some grit left after dehydrating.  Therefore, I always rinse the herb off (in this case Basil) and then pat it  dry on a papertowel before using the dehydrator.  There is nothing worse than biting down on a grain of sand.

STEP 1:  Harvest Basil by cutting off as many large bunches as desired (cut the stalk close to the ground.  Basil is an annual so it won't come back on it's own next year)
STEP 2:  Snip the choice leaves off the stalk with your fingers (or kitchen scissors) and then wash the Basil leaves (see picture below).

NOTE:  I always discard/compost any Basil leaf that has holes or corners missing - these blemishes are from animals or bugs.  Also, NEVER use a Basil leaf that has bird poop residue.
Basil leaves that need to be discarded or composted.

STEP 3:  Arrange the leaves on the dehydrator tray and then turn the dehydrator on - at the manufacturer's specified temperature and time.  (It took my dehydrator 36 hours to dry 4 racks of basil).


STEP 4:  Once the leaves are completely dry, then crumble the basil by hand .  Place the basil flakes in an airtight container.  ENJOY!

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