Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saving the Season

I told you in my blog last year about a really neat present that Gess got for her birthday which was a book titled, 101 Things You Gotta Do Before You're 12.

Well we have been making some progress with this book and today I want to share how we completed challenge #95, "Save a part of one season into the next." We had a garden this year (which helped Gess complete #28 "plant something and watch it grow"), but it was a small one. In fact, it is only our second year to have a garden at all. Thankfully it turned out much better this year, but we didn't really have enough veggies to can or put back for next year. However, our basil plant really took off and as the season comes to a close we thought, what are we going to do with all that basil? Last year we made some pesto and it lasted quite awhile, but we didn't want to go that route again, so my husband looked up how to dry basil and that's what we did last weekend!

How to dry basil

1. First you wash and dry the leaves.

2. Layer the Basil in a baking pan.
First place a paper towel in a baking pan and place a layer of basil on it. Do not let any of the leaves touch. Then place a paper towel on top of that and make another layer. It recommended that we not do more than 3 layers of basil. Be sure there is a paper towel covering the last layer as well.

3. Bake the Basil at low heat
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Place the pan in the preheated oven and then turn the oven off. Leave it in for about one hour. Then, still leaving the basil in the oven, preheat it again, shutting it off when it hits 175 degrees. Check the basil every hour or so to see if it is ready. When it is done will be all dried out like this.

4. Then crush the basil with your fingers into a bowl or something, making sure to remove any stems as you do it. Then place it in a container. We put it in our basil canister for our spice rack. It's pretty neat that it came from our own back yard! Here is Gess showing off the basil that we will use in lots of dishes this winter. It won't be as good as grabbing the leaf fresh off the plant, but it's better than the store bought stuff...and Gess has one more item to check off of her list!

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