Grow Your Own, Dry Your Own

If you have made all the tomato sauce and pesto your freezer can hold and you still have fresh basil coming out your ears, keep reading! It’s easy to dry it for winter use, no special equipment or time required. Carefully harvest perfect leaf clusters with scissors. Try to keep at least a couple inches of stem on the leaves. Find a brown paper bag just the right size to hold your harvest. Write basil and the date on the bag. Hold your cluster of leaves upside down by the stems and place inside the bag. Gather the bag opening around the stems. Use a rubber band to close up the bag around the stems. Keep the bag in a cool dry place. I keep mine in my pantry.

Wait two weeks then check on the leaves. They should be uniformly dry and crispy-brittle. If they are not ready, give them another few days and check again. When they are dry, remove from the stems, crush slightly and store in a small, airtight jar. Keep the jar in a dark cup board as light deteriorates the herbs. You can dry any herb using this method: sage, thyme, tarragon, oregano, marjoram or dill just for starters.

Mary, Culinary Education