Dried basil is an amazing spice, giving the dish a delicate taste and aroma. Unfortunately, greens can not be stored fresh for a long time, and since basil is a seasonal and single-year plant, it is often harvested. The easiest and most common method - drying! What are the ways of drying, what are their advantages and disadvantages? Let's try to figure out how to dry!
There are more than a hundred species of plants, among which there are 4 most popular: fragrant; mint; lemon (with lemon flavor); purple (Regan, with a high content of iodine). Basil contains a huge amount of micro and macro elements necessary for the full functioning of the body (vitamins B, C, E and A; lutein and zeaxanthin; calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorus; iron, manganese, zinc and selenium; essential and non-essential amino acids ; saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids).For drying suitable greens of any kind and color
To preserve the maximum amount of nutrients and not lose the spicy flavor, you need to properly prepare the plant. Greens of any kind and color will be suitable for drying, there are no restrictions in this regard for basil.
Opinions about when to harvest greens for drying, diverge. Some say that it should be done before flowering, others - during the flowering period. But still, most recommend to start picking basil, before it starts flowering. Young twigs are cut on the second leaf from the root. Thus, the cut-off stump will grow again and start new stems. This will allow to harvest several times per season. After flowering, the plant dies and does not give new growth. But you can do more cunning, collecting two harvests before flowering, and the third, after.
How can dry basil for the winter
Preferably, varieties of blue and violet are selected for drying. The thing is that in the process of drying, the green loses its saturated color and becomes brown. But this does not affect its taste and aromatic properties.
In the ovenWhen drying the basil in the oven, the door should be left slightly ajar
In the oven dried leaves (both whole and crushed). The procedure for the procedure looks like this:
- First, rinse the herbs under cool water and let it dry. When the moisture evaporates, the leaves can be torn from the stems and cut (optional).
- The leaves are laid out in a thin layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment.
- The baking tray is placed in an oven heated to 40 ° for 2 hours. The oven door is left slightly ajar to allow moisture to exit. The degree of readiness can be determined by crushing a dry leaflet with your fingers.
This is a good universal method of preparation, because there is an oven in every home!
In the microwaveBasil dries in the microwave in minutes
A small amount of the plant can be dried using a microwave. Dry, peeled leaves are laid out on a paper towel in one thin layer, and placed in a microwave. Drying time depends on the type and model of technology. Some ovens are able to dry greens in just 1.5 minutes, while others will need twice the time. In order not to overdry or burn the leaves, the procedure is recommended to be carried out in stages, in several cycles (30 seconds each). The degree of readiness is checked after each cycle.
First, in this way it is impossible to procure a large amount of raw materials. Secondly, under the influence of electromagnetic radiation, basil loses a lot of useful properties. Dried greens in this way can only be used as flavoring and aromatic additives. She will not bring benefit.
In the electric dryerThe main condition when using an electric dryer is a temperature of 35-40 degrees, a maximum of 45
Pure greens (whole or chopped), placed in a tank, preheating it to 40 °. Moisture leaves very quickly, and the leaf does not change the shape (practically does not curl). Willingness is determined by the appearance, dry leaves should easily crumble.
For drying basil, the VOLTERA 1000 LUX dryer is perfect. You can turn it on and quietly go about your business. At the end of the drying, it will be felt.
In a refrigeratorTo dry in the fridge, fresh, peeled leaves need to be spread out in a thin layer on the bottom shelf.
Dry basil can be in the refrigerator. The leaves are evenly laid out on a plate (preferably plastic), and left on the shelf. At low temperatures, moisture leaves very slowly. This allows you to partially save the color of the leaves. Spice placed in the fridge must be turned daily so that it does not bloom. In the process of cold drying, basil does not lose its essential oils, which means it retains its spiciness and fresh aroma.
In the open airThe natural drying process will take about two weeks.
With this method, you can dry the basil leaves for the winter, along with the stems. For this you need:
- cut the stalks of the same length and the same size (if the stalks are different, sort them);
- collect a bunch of several twigs (no more than 10) and wind it with a string;
- the resulting bundles are suspended in a dry, well-ventilated area, with moderate lighting.
The drying process in natural conditions will take about two weeks. The advantage of this method is that greens retain the maximum amount of macro and microelements, while not losing their beneficial properties. But it is worth being especially careful and constantly monitoring the state of the beams. If the humidity in the room is too high, aphids may appear on the leaves.
How to store dried basil
It is very easy to store dried basil. Whole or crushed leaves, placed in a glass container with a tight lid to prevent the ingress of moisture and microorganisms. Dried bundles, wrapped with gauze cloth and put in a cardboard box. They can also be stored open by placing in a vase or hanging on a thread.Store dried spice in darkened containers under tightly closed lid.
When choosing a method of drying basil, you need to understand in advance what the spice will be used for. If basil is needed for the preparation of aromatic mixtures, inhalations, tinctures or medicinal decoctions, you need to preserve the beneficial properties of the plant. For such purposes, the workpiece is better to produce by cold drying or drying in fresh air. If the spice will be used only to improve the aromatic and taste qualities of the dish, any method of quick drying will do.