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Drying Basil

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Mainegal
Joined: 3/30/2002
Location: Southern Maine Zone4/5
Posts: 2550
Posted: Sep/09/2006 1:03 PM PST

Got this in an email so thought I would post it here

Question: What is the best way to preserve harvested basil leaves? Freezing? Drying? If drying, do you bake them at low temperature or air dry them?

Answer: Basil retains is flavor best when stored in a jar of oil or vinegar in the refrigerator, or made into pesto. You can freeze pesto, too, though it's best to leave the garlic out, since it gets bitter when frozen. To dry basil, spread the cleaned leaves on cookie sheets, and place in your oven, set on its lowest setting. Leave the oven door ajar to allow air circulation, and stir the leaves frequently to ensure even drying. Remove them when crispy, allow them to cool, and store them in airtight jars.
sashweezy
Joined: 6/06/2005
Location: Ontario, Canada..Zone 4
Posts: 8401
Posted: Sep/09/2006 9:06 PM PST

Or, as my friend does, put them in a bag made from a few layers of muslin and tie it, then put them in the dryer on air or very low. It depends on the dryer.
jennyspray
Joined: 5/26/2005
Location: VISALIA, CA.
Posts: 124
Posted: Sep/16/2006 8:13 AM PST

If you like bread pesto butter is great. I made a huge batch and froze it in small bags and every time I make something and I want a good bread I get a bag out,, awsome stuff....
Aliwinkle
Joined: 7/11/2006
Location: Oakville, Ont. Canada
Posts: 85
Posted: Sep/16/2006 2:44 PM PST

I was just wondering if you would dry all herbs in the oven like that? example oregeno, parsley, cilantro etc.?

Also could Jennyspray, could you post your recipe for your bread pesto butter? it sounds just like something i would make and love!
NedsGarden
Joined: 10/09/2006
Location: Thorne Bay AK
Posts: 21
Posted: Oct/09/2006 3:00 AM PST

Air drying out of sunlight is the best way to dry leafy herbs
Vera_EWASH
Joined: 9/08/2005
Location: Central Idaho
Posts: 296
Posted: Oct/10/2006 12:45 PM PST

I totally agree with Ned

Vera
brassi
Joined: 7/26/2004
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 344
Posted: Oct/23/2006 12:16 AM PST

When the first frosts looms at my garden. I start harvesting like a crazy woman. I have found easy ways to preserve my herbs for later use. Basil I dry in small bunches hanging upside down in my basement, where it is dark, cool and dry. When the basil drys and easily crumbles I place it in plastic containers and store them in my pantry.
I also make pesto's, basil, other mixed herbs and good olive oil, process them in a food processor. I then put this mix in ice cube trays and freeze. (You will never use these cube trays again for ice--it will taste funny)
After the ice trays freeze, I take the cube out and place in zip lock baggie and keep frozen. I now have a one measured ounce of herb and oil.
I use these in soups sauces or even place 2 cubes on hot pasta with cheese and toss. The hot pasta will melt the cube.
I love making cubes of basil, oregano, and parsely or basil, thyme and fennel. Both make a great sauce.
Happy Harvesting
brassi:broccoli:
fozbot3 blog photos
Joined: 1/18/2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7893
Posted: Oct/23/2006 1:07 AM PST

thanks Brassi! i saved that to a doc.
NedsGarden
Joined: 10/09/2006
Location: Thorne Bay AK
Posts: 21
Posted: Oct/26/2006 6:01 PM PST

:broccoli: That's OK if you're using herbs in cooking.I use most of mine in tea.During a warm moist summer,I've been vacuum sealing and freezing the green herbs,then dry them in front of my oilstove during cooler(colder) weather.It's quick and doesn't scorch them like my dehydrator does.I use the dehydrator for things like rose hips.
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