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gixxerific
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Drying Basil ?'s

Okay than, I got a dehydrator for Christmas which I am ready to use soon, I have basil ready to try out in it.

I am looking through the manual ans it suggest 90 degrees for 20 - 24 hours!!!! :shock: Even the meat and fish was way less than this. So to Google I go right, and find a site about dehydrating and they suggest 95 degrees for 1 - 3 hours.

Somewhere someone got a type or something. I am confused. I always dried them the good old fashioned way by hanging. But I want to try out the dehydrator.


Any comments on this?

Thanks Dono

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applestar
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Last year -- I think -- somebody posted about tossing the basil leaves in oil (I used EVOO) and laying in single layer in a zip bag to freeze. I don't like oily food in direct contact with plastic so I froze on parchment paper, then folded the frozen leaves in the parchment paper to put in the freezer bag.

That worked very well for me.

I did dry other leafy stuff like mint, etc. tea herbs and parsley in the dehydrator on herb setting which on mine is 95ºF (or so it says) overnight until dry enough to crumble. They do dry faster if the leaves are cut off from the stems and only leaves are dried.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, a typo or something. If I don't hang mine, I dry it in the oven on the lowest setting which is about 120. It takes 1-2 hrs that way, depending on how crowded etc. And yes, I always dry the leaves only, off the stems.
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maus
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well i must be too ghetto then because i throw catnip leaves in a paper bag then leave them in a dark closet. I am looking for a dehydrator but all the reviews i read are only the expensive ones are good.
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rainbowgardener
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Well both gixx and I mentioned usually hanging them; that's about the equivalent. I put stems and all inside a paper bag and hang them upside down in a dark but ventilated space.

I actually inherited a dehydrator (literally, from a friend who died), but have yet to use it. Getting it out of storage and set up and then putting it away again seems like more trouble than it is worth. I may give it away.
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applestar
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I really like my dehydrator.

So far this year, I've made a couple of jars of dehydrated strawberries. Later on, I'll be drying tomatoes and hot peppers as well as apples. I may be making prunes again this year, though due to the drought, (and maybe due to large harvest last year and this being the off year) my plum trees are not producing many fruits this year.

I do the hanging in brown lunch and paper bag method for herbs as well. I like using the large bags with twisted paper handles for big harvests. but sometimes when the dehydrator is free and I just want to get some herbs dry, it's very simple to put them on the trays.

I'm planning to make organic fruit leather from green apples, etc. this year as well.

maus
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what kind of dehydrator do you recomend for herbs
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gixxerific
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Thanks I never hung my herbs in a bag just in the garage with a fan on them.

I'm not sure it was type in the book, about half of the herbs said 20 - 24 hours while most of the other were 1 - 3 hours. Go figure.

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rainbowgardener
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Doesn't make sense to me. I have basil in my oven right now. Since the oven doesn't get down as low as a dehydrator, I had it on for half and hour and then turned it off. It will stay warm (especially since it is nearly as warm in the house as it is inside the oven! :? ) and I will leave them in there another couple hours just in the warm oven.
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Kisal
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I have a Nesco American Harvest, along with another older one that I don't remember the name of. The Nesco book does say 12 to 24 hours for basil and chives -- the only 2 species I checked -- but the recommended temperature setting is 100º. Summer temps are higher than that in some parts of the country. :)
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maus
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Which model do you have
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Kisal
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Me? The top says "Nesco Professional Food and Jerky Dehydrator". It doesn't have a model number on it that I see. The temperature range is from 95º F to 160º F. I use it primarily for making jerky.

I use the older one, which I keep out in the garage, for drying fruits and veggies, because it's larger. :)
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gixxerific
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I have a Nesco as well I wonder why they put those times in there.

I have the Model FD-61 500 watt. I will be trying it today and see how it goes.

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Kisal
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I think the time required to complete the drying would depend on the amount of moisture in and on the leaves, and also the number of leaves put on each tray. The more moisture in and on the leaves, the longer the time required. Just open the dehydrator and feel the leaves. When they're dry enough to suit you, turn off the dehydrator. That makes sense to me, anyway. :)
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PunkRotten
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I have an Excalibur dehydrator and use it to dry all sorts of things. I usually set mine to 95F- 110F and let it dry for a whole day. I like to overkill just to make sure all the moisture is out. This way I know it will preserve longer.

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applestar wrote:
I do the hanging in brown lunch and paper bag method for herbs as well. I like using the large bags with twisted paper handles for big harvests.
Applestar, could you describe how you dry them with the bag? I just hung them upside down last year in my basement for 2 weeks.

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applestar
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:lol: It's extremely simple. I just put the harvested herbs loose in the paper bags, staple the tops closed to keep out dust, and hang them by the handles close to the ceiling on cup hooks, etc. I write the contents close to the bottom of the bag so it's easier to see.

Since heat rises, it's warmer near the ceiling.

I don't have a basement but it seems to me that there would be higher humidity down there? I would dry my herbs in the attic if I had one.

After they are dry, I crumble them up by flattening the bag, then remove the stems and/or pour out the crumbled herbs to store in jars and/or zip bags. With tea herbs, this would be when I blend them. Sometimes (often! :oops: ) I'm not so organized and just take down the bags and grab a handful of whatever herb I'm looking for at the moment.

For smaller quantities, I've also put sprigs in brown paper lunch bag or slightly larger bags with tops rolled down and labeled, then put the bags in a larger paper shopping bag -- typically wide squat ones from the bakery, sized to hold cake and pie boxes flat -- and put the bag on top of a high shelf or hung from the ceiling.

These herbs should not have any water on them when you put them in the bags, obviously, or they might spoil or get moldy.

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rainbowgardener
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I take a bunch of stems of one kind of herb. Rubberband them to the hook of a clothes hanger. Put the clothes hanger inside a brown paper grocery bag. Put a hole in the bottom of the bag for the hook of the hanger to come out. Hang it from something up near the ceiling.

Once the herbs are dry, I clean them from the stems and put in glass jars with good lids.
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applestar
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Listen to rainbow -- she's got her system down :wink:
Mine is a much more haphazard method :oops:

Herbs retain their flavor and essence best if you dry them protected from light and as quickly as possible. So more airflow is better.

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Rainbow

Two things:

What's the purpose of the bag - to keep dust off?

How long do you dry them?

I did read somewhere NOT to crush the leaves until you're ready to use the herb - worked good for me last year.

Thanks so much!

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rainbowgardener
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The purpose of the bag (besides keeping dust off) is to provide a slightly dehumidified environment. The theory is anyway that the paper soaks up some of the humidity from the air, making a bit drier space inside. And it makes it dark - you don't want light on them while you are drying them, it tends to blanch them out and lose flavor.

Dry them until they are dry and crumbly. That's usually a few days for me, but it depends a lot on ambient humidity.

You don't want to crunch them more than you have to, but you need to be able to put them in jars or they will continue to lose flavor. So you need to clean them of stems etc.
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