Drying and Storing Basil Any leaves and seeds that fall off will be caught in the bottom of the bag. Use kitchen string or a rubber band to loosely combine the stems into tiny bundles. This weekend, it was time to harvest what was left of my basil, and there was quite a bit of it. Guidelines for preserving basil usually suggest generating pesto, but I’m not a enormous fan of the stuff. I decided instead to experiment with drying, since I use dried basil quite a bit in soups and stews. Since I never but own a dehydrator, I took a shot at drying the leaves in the microwave. Fortunately, the microwave approach was not only productive but incredibly fast! The outcome was completely dried basil that nonetheless kept its wealthy color and glorious scent. I program to experiment with other herbs in the future. I like to decide on robust stems with healthful, intact leaves for drying. In most situations, I never even need to wash the cuttings because I preserve an organic garden and don’t have dogs roaming around where the edibles develop. The microwave specifically targets water, drying your herbs more rapidly than any other method and maintaining them greener and fresher tasting than other dried herbs. Tie stems in bundles and hang the herbs upside down. Use twist-ties so you can effortlessly tighten the bundles when stems shrink as they dry. Wrap muslin, a mesh make bag or a paper bag with several holes about the bundle, and tie it at the neck. Carol Costenbader, author of The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, suggests producing a gift this way by making use of a decorative hole punch and pretty ribbon. This preserves the important oils which, in turn, preserves the flavor. The herbs are ready when all of the moisture is gone and they are crisp enough to crumble (a single to two weeks in most instances). Verify your dehydrator instruction booklet for specific particulars. The ideal time to harvest most herbs for drying is just prior to the flowers initial open when they are in the bursting bud stage. Gather the herbs in the early morning right after the dew has evaporated to lessen wilting. They need to not lie in the sun or unattended after harvesting. Rinse herbs in cool water and gently shake to eliminate excess moisture. Do not bunch herbs tightly or it may possibly encourage mold as they dry. Hang the bunches upside down in a dark warm dry place with good air circulation. Some herbs, such as oregano, sage and thyme, can be air-dried. Just hang little bunches in a effectively-ventilated area, away from light. When leaves are dry, get rid of them from their stems and store in an airtight jar. I find air drying to be the easiest approach and this can be achieved in a couple of various ways. For plants with tiny leaves like thyme and oregano, I like to lay the stems out on paper towels or a flattened piece of brown paper bag. Some people like to put a clean tea or kitchen towel on a drying rack (like 1 utilised for cooling fresh-baked cookies) and lay the herbs out there. This is best done when the climate is warm and dry. Tender-Leaf Herbs Basil, oregano, tarragon, lemon balm and the mints have a high moisture content and will mold if not dried speedily. Dehydrator drying is a rapidly and straightforward way to dry higher good quality herbs simply because temperature and air circulation can be controlled. Pre-heat dehydrator with the thermostat set to 95°F to 115°F. In places with greater humidity, temperatures as higher as 125°F might be necessary. Soon after rinsing under cool, running water and shaking to eliminate excess moisture, place the herbs in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Herbs are dry when they crumble, and stems break when bent. Try hanging the tender-leaf herbs or these with seeds inside paper bags to dry. Suspend a little bunch (huge amounts will mold) of herbs in a bag and close the top with a rubber band. Place exactly where air currents will circulate by means of the bag. Discard all bruised, soiled or imperfect leaves and stems. To avoid dust from collecting on the drying leaves, spot each bunch inside a paper bag before hanging. Gather the best of the bag and tie the herb stems so the leaves hang freely inside the bag.