Sniff Sniff

I harvested some of my basil and put it into the dehydrator.

One of the unexpected perks of using a dehydrator is the alluring smell that infuses the air in the house. Basil, especially, fills the house with the most amazing aroma. I find myself repeatedly sucking in the deepest breaths I can, as if I can’t get enough air.

It’s super easy to dry a mess of basil in a dehydrator. Just thorougly wash, remove the leaves from the stems, distribute evenly on the dehydrator trays, and follow the manufacturer’s directions for temperature and time.

Basil ready to dehydrate

When it’s finished, I will put the dehydrated basil in the freezer so it will last even longer.

The leaves that were blemished or too tiny, and the stems, went into the chicken coop. Basil is good for chickens. Putting it in the coop helps keep pests away. Alternatively, you can put it in their food and/or water for mucous membrane and respiratory support.

Before I had a dehydrator, I dried basil in my microwave oven. Again, It’s not complicated to do though this method takes a bit more time and attention. It would be the preferable approach to use if you have just a little bit of basil to dry. For those who buy fresh basil from the grocery store, this would be a great way to not waste the little bit leftover that you didn’t need for your recipe.

To dry basil in the microwave:

Remove the leaves from the stems, wash and drain, then blot dry with a paper towel (a salad spinner would be even better).  Lay the leaves on a paper towel covered plate and cover the leaves with another paper towel.  (A paper plate would be good – I used one of my Corelle plates and, while it didn’t break, it got really, really hot.) Be sure to open up folded leaves so more surface area is exposed. Microwave in 30-second increments until dry and crunchy.  After each thirty-second increment, open the microwave and fluff the paper towel cover to let the hot, humid air out of the oven. It usually takes a total of 3 minutes (six 30-second increments) for each batch in my microwave.  It is very obvious when the batch is done.  

This winter, I will use both the basil and the peaches I processsed to make and enjoy:

Peach Basil Chicken

Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Save 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture for later. Dredge 4 chicken breasts in the remaining flour mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet and cook chicken over medium heat for 8-10 minutes each side, until it’s no longer pink inside. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add one sliced onion (do not use onion flakes or powder use real onion!), 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 clove, smashed), and the reserved floor mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup chicken stock and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape the bits from the pan. Add 1 cup peach slices (or a 10 ounce freezer bag), reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (crunch up dehydrated leaves and heat until rehydrated). Pour sauce over chicken. Yum!.

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