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Drying Basil

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  sanderson on 7/26/2015, 11:32 pm

Audrey, can one make a large batch of processed basil in oil and put the jar in the freezer? Then just scoop out as needed?

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  Kelejan on 7/27/2015, 12:09 am

@sanderson wrote:Audrey, can one make a large batch of processed basil in oil and put the jar in the freezer?  Then just scoop out as needed?

Hard going just scooping out a little basil from a frozen jar, sanderson. I am assuming that oil freezes into a hard lump. Maybe put the frozen basil and oil in an ice-cube tray in a container?

ETA Just read Audrey-Jeanne's method and that is the method I use myself. A little flattened baggie takes no time at all to thaw.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  sanderson on 7/27/2015, 2:02 am

If grapeseed oil freezes, then the ice cube tray would work for me.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  herblover on 7/31/2015, 11:09 am

I have done many methods; drying, which I just lay them out on a paper towel until dry, freezing in ice cube trays with a little water or oil, and this year am trying salt preserving.  I am hoping it will keep the color and fresh flavor without taking up freezer space as well as providing me with basil flavored salt.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  walshevak on 8/1/2015, 8:24 am

As I was leaving the house, I picked some basil to share with my son, but forgot to take it into his house.  It was just laying on the backseat of the truck.  I didn't use the truck the next day and the temps were in the upper 90s.  When I did go to use the truck the second day the smell was great and all was crispy.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/2/2015, 9:30 am

If I have enough to store (I only ended up with 2 plants, long, sad story) I think I will try the Audrey method, of freezing in snack baggies with EVOO. I LOVE fresh basil, but dried, not so much. Once it is dried it enters the generic "Italian" spice zone along with dried oregano, marjoram, basil, etc. I like them, but they are a different animal in my opinion than fresh basil!

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/2/2015, 7:50 pm

Ditto. Dried might as well be a completely different herb, for all the resemblance between fresh and dried.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  floyd1440 on 8/3/2015, 7:18 pm

One year I made pesto in ice cube trays, another year just froze it and this year I am drying it.  probably should do a little of each but am curious how fresh the dried basil will last.  My guess is 6 months.....

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  sanderson on 9/16/2015, 4:10 am

Just bought these off eBay from gingerco.  10 plastic spice/herb 1 oz jars with shaker fittings and lids, plus little labels.  Free shipping for $9.99.  Baby jars are okay but these are perfect for the chili, cayenne, thyme and garlic powder.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  yolos on 9/16/2015, 8:54 am

@yolos wrote:I have been experimenting with the best way to dry Basil.  One method worked better and had nicer looking dried leaves than the other two methods. 

The first method I tried was my Excalibur Dehydrator.  That took about 2 days and basil was blowing everywhere every time I opened the dehydrator to check on the doneness (because I forgot to turn off the dehydrator each time).  It just took too long and I got tired of checking it and listening to the dehydrator running all the time.

Then next method I tried was hanging the branches (which were tied together in bunches).  I tied them with string and hung them like mistletoe from my mantle.  That took too long (about 3 weeks because it is too humid here).

The next method was microwaving them.  This turned out to be the best for me.  The leaves are still very green and pretty.  This would be the way to go if you are giving away the dried basil.  It was time consuming though.  Wash basil, clip off the leaves, pat dry, spread on a microwave dish with two paper towels under the basil and one piece of paper towel on the top.  Microwave.  All microwaves are different but these are the time and settings I used.  Power level = 8, 40 secs and check, 30 secs, and check, 20 secs and check.  Done.  The advice I got was to microwave in short burst because it is real easy to over cook it.  Here are some pictures.  Note the last picture showing the microwaved basil on the left compared to the air dried basil on the right.





As I said, this is time consuming.  But look at the pretty green basil on the left.  Now if you crumble it up and use it for seasonings, the color won't matter, but if you are giving it in pretty jars at Christmas time, the microwaved sure is eye catching. 
PS - I am not going to break it up for seasonings until I am ready to use it.  I read that it will hold its flavor longer if you do not break up the leaves until you are ready to use it.


I just wanted to add a short update.  My nice pretty green microwave dried basil which I put in a Tupperware type container is now turning an off color.  Not as bad as the air dried basil, but about halfway between the pretty green microwaved and the ugly air dried.  The basil I put in a zip lock bag (after sucking the air out with a straw) are also turning color but not as bad as the Tupperware stored basil.  Next trial will be to use the Foodsaver attachment to suck the air out of a canning jar to see if that will help.

I used a couple different suggestions made in this tread to freeze some in water and some in olive oil so I will know which way to preserve it next year.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  sanderson on 9/16/2015, 12:58 pm

Thank you for the update.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  plantoid on 9/18/2015, 4:36 pm

Yolos,
 
Have you also tried the microwave route then vac packed & heat seal it in to small packets , then  drop the small packs in the freezer ( after labelling ) to suspend /slow any further changes ?

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  yolos on 9/18/2015, 5:27 pm

@plantoid wrote:Yolos,
 
Have you also tried the microwave route then vac packed & heat seal it in to small packets , then  drop the small packs in the freezer ( after labelling ) to suspend /slow any further changes ?

Plantoid - I did the microwave route and the basil turned out real green and pretty.  Then I put the Basil in a Tupperware type container and some in a zip lock bag.  They are turning color slowly.  I did not go the vac pack but that is what I will try next.  I am trying to keep them out of the freezer unless there is no other way.  I was trying to use these in small glass containers as Christmas presents but it may not work.

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Re: Drying Basil

Post  Windmere on 9/18/2015, 7:40 pm

Thanks for the update!

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Re: Drying Basil

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