Do you do basil? I love the stuff. I have grown it off and on over the years with varying results. In the past, I have never had a place to properly dry herbs: a dry, warm place with air circulation. This year we installed a Tuff Shed because we needed to get a lot of things out of the garage so CarGuy could work on the latest car. Yipee! I finally have a place to store all my tools and what-not. Plus it has the added benefit of being a drying shed.
Back to basil. I know that basil is best used fresh, but let's get real: I live in Colorado. Basil is an annual and it really only grows here for the months of July and August. June is a chancy month because of hail storms. I have made fresh pesto and I love to take a few leaves and chop them up into a green salad. Mmmm... But I have too much basil to use so I am drying it. Do you know how good that shed smells? Heaven!
I pull the plant out of the ground and rinse both it and the roots well. I then I tye a string around a bundle of plants just above the roots using a slip knot. To tighten it well, I swing it in a circle over my head which has the added benefit of flinging the water off the leaves. I then hang it from a nail in the shed.
You know, this reminds me of when I was a child. There was an old Victorian house in my grandfather's neighborhood. A pretty yellow house with white gingerbread trim. The old lady who lived there used to dry things on a string strung between the pillars on the front porch. I'm thinking that this lady was probably about the age I am now and not really an old lady. Every time I dry herbs or use my dehydrator to make fruit leather I think of this lady and the things she used to dry. I remember one thing that looked like human ears. Scared the daylights out of this 10 year old girl, I tell you. I wonder what it was she was drying that looked like ears? Any ideas?
4 cups tightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts or almonds
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 sprigs parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Place the basil in a
Use in soups and on pasta.