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I was in my garden yesterday and noticed that my basil was forming flowers, which means that it is going to seed. The flavor of the fresh basil changes as it goes to seed, so it was time to do something. Well…not a problem…just dry it! Now, I do not have a fancy dehydrator, but if you do, use it. You see, I am pretty cheap (oops! I meant economical) and I just dry it in my shed. This is how I do it.
First, cut the large multi- stemmed shoots of the basil, leaving the smaller side shoots to mature and become big guys. Then just snip off the flowers. Wash the basil thoroughly in lots of cold water. Thank goodness the basil doesn’t have those nasty little green worms that hide on the bottom of the leaves. After it is clean, separate it into bundles of about five multi- stemmed shoots and tie tightly with string, leaving a large loop so you can hang it on a nail or whatever you have. I dry mine in my garden shed which is very hot and dry. In my former house, I dried them in my attic. You have to use what you have.
Check the basil every week or so, depending on how hot it is. When the leaves are dry and crumbly, take them down and crush the leaves on a paper towel and store them in an airtight container., You will be glad you saved your basil in the winter when you want to make Italian pasta sauce. Aside from being “economical” it’s a lot fun and very satisfying to preserve your own food.