Friday, September 16, 2011

Air Drying Basil

Basil is so delicious, especially when it is fresh from the garden. Seasons are changing, however, and my basil will not last as winter arrives. The next best thing is to dry the basil so we can enjoy it all winter long! I found great instructions from this tutorial on how to do just this.

There were some other ways to do this that take a lot less time : oven drying, freezing, etc. but I really wanted something that would be easy and natural. So, here you go!

All you need is a lot of basil, some string, scissors, and a place to hang the basil bunches.

1. Pick your basil and bring it inside. I have heard that picking it in the morning, around 10am, is the best because it has the most oil at that time.

2. Cut off the tips where the flowers are blossoming. Apparently I was supposed to pick it before the flowers started growing .. oops.

3. Fill up your sink with cold water and submerge the stalks in the water for about 10 minutes. This is to clean off the basil and let all the spiders and broken pieces float to the surface. Gross. Save the spiders, or let them drown, it's up to you. I saved them because I wanted to get rid of them as fast as possible.

4. Lay them out on towels and let them air dry for a couple hours. They do not have to be completely dry, but you do not want them splattering water everywhere when you hang them. Go donate blood or platelets like I did!

5. Bundle the basil into large bunches. I had enough for three large bunches.

6. Tie the ends with string. Pull the string very tight because the stems will shrink as they dehydrate.

7. Hang up the bunches wherever is convenient and leave them there for four weeks. Yes, FOUR WEEKS. They will stiffen and dry up as the time passes. They are done with the leaves crumble between your fingers.

You can do this process with any herb. The smell is amazing! Try it out.

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