I sometimes work as a mystery shopper. It’s something interesting that keeps my brain from turning into mashed potatoes. (Stay-at-home moms will know what I mean.) Anyway, I recently did a shop that necessitated buying fresh basil.
I never use fresh basil. I occasionally use fresh herbs, some of which I grow myself, but not basil. I’m not sure why. I just haven’t. I always get it dried. Yeah…not a gourmet.
Getting my daughter ready for her youth conference meant that it wasn’t a good time to try new recipes. But I hate to throw out food! (Which is probably why I make things like Junk Stock. And what is it with me and the asides today?) So I pulled out my dehydrator.
I don’t own a fancy dehydrator. It’s a Nesco American Harvest model like this one. I bought it years ago when I found it on clearance at a big box retailer so that I could make camping food for my son, who was a scout at the time. My dehydrator has two settings; on and off. (Like I said, not a gourmet.)
But I washed the basil and patted it dry and took the leaves off of the stems. I laid the leaves out on the dehydrator trays and ended up with two of the four trays full of fragrant leaves. I alternated the full trays in the dehydrator with the empty trays, set up the motor, and switched it on. About three and a half hours later the basil was dried enough to store.
Easy peasy. And nothing wasted! I’m always happy when I can “save” groceries rather than have them go to waste and I’m happy to discover that I can do things I might not have tried before. I do use dried basil fairly frequently, so now that I’ve actually dried it maybe I’ll start growing basil with the couple of other herbs I like to grow for myself. (I know, I know, I should have figured this out long ago!)
What have you learned out of “necessity” or a desire to avoid waste? What other herbs should I try to grow and dry myself?
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